OSHA toughens reporting requirements
Effective January 1, 2015 employers must notify OSHA
promptly when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a
work-related hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
Under the revised rule, employers will be required to notify
OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and workrelated
in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an
eye within 24 hours. Previously, OSHA's regulations required
an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient
hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting single
hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required
under the previous rule.
All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health
Act, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and
illness records, are required to comply with OSHA's new severeinjury
and illness reporting requirements. To assist employers in
fulfilling these requirements, OSHA is developing a web portal
for employers to report incidents electronically, in addition to the
"Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating
that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and
that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at
the establishment," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary
of labor for occupational safety and health.
OSHA reports nationwide 4,405 workers were killed on the job
in 2013. According to the South Carolina Department of Labor,
Licensing and Regulation, there were a total of 72 occupational
deaths in South Carolina in 2013. Most of the deaths were
attributed to transportation incidents (27), violence (14), and falls,
slips, trips (13). LLR administers the state's OSHA program.
Business Insurance notes workplace fatalities in the U.S.
peaked in 1994, when there were 6,632 deaths. Transportation
accidents have been the number one cause of workplace deaths
for at least 10 years, accounting for two in five deaths in 2013.
Separately, OSHA released its list of the ten most-frequently
cited safety violations for fiscal 2014. The list below shows the
number of citations:
- Fall protection (1926.501) - 6,143
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200) - 5,161
- Scaffolding (1926.451) - 4,029
- Respiratory Protection (1910.134) - 3,223
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) - 2,704
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) - 2,662
- Electrical - Wiring Methods (1910.305) - 2,490
- Ladders (1926.1053) - 2,448
- Machine Guarding (1910.212) - 2,200
- Electrical - General Requirements (1910.303) - 2,056
At the NC Industrial Commission
By Bruce Hamilton, partner Teague Campbell Dennis & Gorham
New terms limits
The North Carolina General Assembly included a provision in the budget establishing
six year terms with a maximum of two terms for Deputy Commissioners. The
seven Deputy Commissioners with the least time of service will have their current
terms expire February 1, 2015, the seven deputies with the next least time of service
will have their terms expire August 1, 2015 and the terms of the remaining Deputy
Commissioners will expire February 1, 2016.
Based on recent legislation, it appears the Chairman of the Commission now has the
power to hire Deputy Commissioners and that a Deputy Commissioner may only be
removed from office for a violation of a judicial standard of conduct. The Deputy
Commissioners will be given a six-year term, but most will be limited to no more than
12 years of service at maximum. Those Deputy Commissioners who have worked less
than two years are eligible for two additional six-year terms.
New Medical Motion Procedures
On July 22, 2014, Governor Pat McCory signed Senate Bill 794 into law, which,
among other things, changed N.C.G.S. §97-25 to clarify and modify existing
procedures for expedited and emergency medical motions. Changes to the statute
do not impact a party's ability to file a medical motion with either the Executive
Secretary's Office or at the Deputy Commissioner level, and parties can still appeal
adverse rulings to either the Chief Deputy Commissioner or Full Commission.
One of the key features of the new § 97-25 is that it mandates that orders entered by
the Executive Secretary's office or a Deputy Commissioner are not automatically
stayed on appeal or on a motion for reconsideration. In order to obtain a stay, the
appealing party must file a motion to stay which may be allowed, in the Commission's
discretion, upon consideration of factors set forth in 97-25(f)(4).
Also, emergency medical motions must be decided by the Chief Deputy
Commissioner within 5 days and parties are now provided with the option to appeal
an administrative ruling on an emergency medical motion and receive an expedited
formal hearing before a Deputy Commissioner.
Timelines imposed on the Commission for hearing and ruling on medical motions are
now addressed specifically by the new statute, including requiring ruling on medical
motions filed with the Executive Secretary within 30 days; ruling on expedited
motions filed with the Chief Deputy Commissioner within 60 days, which leaves
a very limited time for taking any allowed deposition testimony; and requiring a
decision by the Full Commission on medical motion appeals within 60 days.