The Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration requires employers in South Carolina and around the country to keep accurate records of their workers’ injuries and illnesses. In addition to keeping records, employers must report certain types of work injuries to OSHA in a timely manner. Workplace injuries that involve hospitalizations or amputations must be reported within 24 hours, and workplace fatalities must be reported within eight hours.
OSHA has issued a proposed rule to clarify employers’ record keeping responsibilities for recordable workplace injuries and illnesses. According to the proposed rule, an employer has a duty to record injuries and illnesses that extends as long as their obligation to keep the records. Employers must hold onto records of workplace injuries and illnesses for five years.
According to OSHA, a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit prompted the new proposed rule. In the case in question, the court ruled against OSHA’s issuance of citations to employers who failed to record workplace injuries. Some of the citations that were issued by OSHA concerned missing injury records that were five years old. After OSHA announced the proposed rule, the National Roofing Contractor Association said that the federal agency was disrespecting the appeals court decision.
Regardless of whether or not an employer complies with its reporting duties, an injured worker may claim financial compensation for their workplace injuries through the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. An attorney may be able to help an injured worker to determine the amount of medical expenses and lost wages so that the maximum amount of benefits can be claimed.