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OSHA changes reporting requirements for work-related deaths

Workplace accidents are all too common in Illinois. While many of these accidents won't be serious, some will be fatal. Construction negligence is particularly likely to lead to fatal workplace injuries and accidents. The loss of a loved one is never easy, but when a sudden work-related accident takes people from their families, the loss can be even harder to bear. In 2013, more than 4,000 U.S. workers were killed on the job.

In an effort to make workplaces safer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently changed reporting requirements for employers. These new requirements will go into effect on Jan. 1. They require that employers file detailed accident reports following a fatal workplace accident within eight hours of the death. Employers have 24 hours to report accidents that result in injuries that require hospitalizations but do not result in deaths. These new rules apply to all businesses -- no matter their size.

Prior to this rule, employers only had to file these types of reports when an incident resulted in the death or hospitalization of three or more employees.

OSHA hopes that this new requirement will allow the agency to more quickly respond to workplaces following a death. The agency hopes that this will allow them to immediately begin to make changes in the workplace to make it safer for all employees.

While these measure will help prevent future accidents, they may not be able to help the families of fatal work-related accident victims. However, legal remedies may be available to help those who have lost a loved one in a workplace accident. Depending on the situation, these families might be entitled to compensation.

Source: Quincy Herald-Whig, "Feds tighten rules on workplace death reporting," Tom Raum, Sept. 11, 2014

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