How to Report Construction Accidents and Incidents to OSHA

Construction AccidentsConstruction accidents are declining, and that’s good news for all of us in the industry. In the past four decades, workplace fatalities have decreased by more than 65 percent, and occupational injury and illness rates have declined by 67 percent, according to OSHA. Still, plenty of accidents happen on construction sites — and employers need to know what steps to take when they do.

First, know that you must orally report to OSHA within eight hours the death of any employee from a work-related incident or the hospitalization of three or more employees as a result of a work-related incident. Too many accidents don’t get reported until weeks later.

OSHA also requires covered employers (which include those with more than 10 employees) to keep records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses, using the OSHA 300 Log. This information is important for employers, workers, and OSHA in evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards, and putting worker protections in place to reduce and eliminate hazards.

What you need to report

The list of the types of injuries and illnesses that need to be reported to OSHA is extensive, and includes:

  • all work-related fatalities
  • all work-related injuries and illnesses that result in days away from work, loss of consciousness, or medical treatment beyond first aid
  • significant work-related injuries or illnesses diagnosed by a physician
  • injuries that include a cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation
  • both acute and chronic illnesses, including a skin disease (i.e. contact dermatitis), respiratory disorder (i.e. occupational asthma, pneumoconiosis), or poisoning (i.e. lead poisoning, solvent intoxication)

OSHA defines work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities as those in which an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the condition, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-related injuries can be anything from debilitating back pain to an injury from a fall.

How to report accidents to OSHA

It’s not easy to figure out what types of accidents and injuries need to be reported, and how. One helpful resource is the online OSHA Record Keeping Advisor, which through a series of Q&As walks you through the steps to report and record work-related injuries and illnesses.

While construction accidents do happen, they are not inevitable with the proper safety training and procedures. In the event that there is an accident, or even a near-miss, the situation should be reviewed to identify the cause so that you can fix the problem and prevent more injuries in the future. Regular accident-review meetings between foremen, supervisors, and other staff send the message that your company takes safety seriously.

As a full-service occupational safety services consultant, Diversified Safety Services offers training on how to conduct accident investigations as well as workplace safety audits and a wide range of other services. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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