Failure to report or reporting of a serious workplace injury or illness or death can land an employer a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 under the California Labor Code.
If you have employees, you need to understand the procedures for reporting these incidents and what you need to report.
What Is A Serious Injury?
Cal/OSHA defines an employee’s serious injury or illness as:
- One that requires inpatient hospitalization for a period in excess of 24 hours for other than medical observation.
- A loss of a body part.
- A serious, permanent disfigurement.
When Must I Report A Serious Injury?
Employers are required to report serious injuries “immediately” to the Cal/OSHA district office closest to the location of the incident. Cal/OSHA defines “immediately” as being as soon as practically possible, but no longer than eight hours after the incident or when the employer was made aware of the incident.
There is one exception: if an employer can demonstrate that exigent circumstances exist, the time frame to report cannot be any longer than 24 hours after the incident.
That said, there are some instances when an injury, illness, or death is not subject to these reporting requirements including those:
- Caused by the commission of a Penal Code violation.
- Caused by an accident on a public street or highway.
Employer Policies About Serious Injuries
Make sure you have a policy in place that clearly defines what constitutes a serious injury and that includes the steps for gathering the necessary information for reporting to Cal/OSHA. Train your employees, supervisors, and managers on the policy and procedures for reporting serious injuries.
At a minimum, the policy should include:
- Definitions of serious injury and illness.
- The types of incidents that should be reported.
- The phone number for the local Cal/OSHA district office.
- A form or list of questions to help gather information for the report.
When reporting a serious injury, illness or death to Cal/OSHA, you should include the following information:
- Time and date of accident.
- Employer’s name, address, and telephone number.
- Name and job title, or badge number of person who reported the accident.
- Address of site of accident or event.
- Name of person to contact at site of accident.
- Name and address of injured employee(s).
- Nature of injury.
- Location to which injured employee(s) was moved.
- List and identity of law enforcement agencies present at the site of accident.
- Description of accident and whether the accident scene or equipment was altered.
Time is critical in reporting serious injury or death to make sure the worker gets the benefits to which he or she is entitled and it is required by law.
If you have questions or need assistance putting together a policy for reporting these incidents, call us. We can help.