What to do if a Workplace Injury Occurs?
With so many different types of work environments and hazards that a workplace can face, it’s not uncommon for employees to get injured or suffer an illness on the job that would require the employer to report a work-related accident. This could happen to anyone in the workplace whether in an office, at a construction site, or in a healthcare facility.
If there is a workplace injury that is an emergency, it’s important that you respond quickly and call 911 right away for medical assistance. If the injury was not an emergency but may still need medical care, please consider directing the injured individual to the best available urgent care or occupational health clinic near the workplace to get analyzed. Employers should also have on file and remember to provide a Worker’s Compensation Claim Form, or DWC-1 Form, to the employee which offers worker’s comp benefits in the event of a workplace injury or illness report.
What are Cal/OSHA Injury Reporting Requirements?
CA Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires every California employer to immediately report all severe injuries, illnesses, or death of an employee that occurred at the workplace to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). Cal/OSHA highly encourages employers to make these reports by phone but may also do so by email.
Cal/OSHA has defined the term “immediately” to mean as soon as practically possible, but not longer than 8 hours after the employer has become aware or with diligent inquiry would have known of the death or serious injury to make such reports. There are also situations where this 8-hour deadline could be extended to no longer than 24 hours if the employer can demonstrate that an exigent circumstance existed.
What is Considered a Serious Injury or Illness?
Serious injuries or illnesses that shall be reported by telephone or email is defined by Cal/OSHA as one of the following (standard under the California code of regulations in section 342):
- Inpatient hospitalization, regardless of length of time, for other than medical observation or Diagnostic testing;
- Loss of an eye;
- Serious degree of permanent disfigurement; or
- Fatality or Death
Other types of workplace injury and illness situations that do not fit into the examples above may not be reportable to Cal/OSHA but are still recordable on a 300 Form or Log. These types of recordable incidents may affect one’s ability to work and could result in days away from work, restricted or modified work duties, or job transfer. One thing to keep in mind is that federal OSHA compliance could differ from individual state OSHA requirements.
What Information Do I Need to Prepare When Reporting a Serious Injury or Illness?
The employer must notify and report the incident which must 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 reporting the accident.
- Address of site of accident or event.
- Name of person to contact at the site of the accident.
- Name and address of injured employee(s).
- Nature of injury.
- The location where an injured employee(s) was (were) moved to.
- List and identity of other law enforcement agencies present at the site of the accident.
- Description of accident and whether the accident scene or instrumentality has been altered.
Keep in mind when reporting to Cal/OSHA reporting via telephone or through a specified communication portal is encouraged. Accidents in the workplace can occur at any time so it is best practice to have public knowledge of your companies’ protocols for reporting.