By Alexander Barthet

While some industries are not required to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless specifically requested to do so, all employers, including those partially exempted because of their size or classification, must now report to OSHA any work place incident which results in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye (non-routine work place injuries). Construction companies take note – employers must report a worker fatality within 8 hours and hospitalization, amputation or eye loss within 24 hours. Employers with 10 or fewer employees during the previous calendar year remain exempt from routine OSHA injury and illness record
keeping. As well, companies in certain low hazard industries are also exempt from routine record keeping – from florists to shoe stores, junior colleges to appliance stores, some 80 industry classifications are now exempt. A complete list is available at

What is clear is that work place safety remains a key element for every construction company. OSHA’s focus here hasn’t changed, especially not with the construction industry continually ranking among the most dangerous. Private industry construction workers had a fatal occupational injury rate nearly three times that of all workers in the United States, with the leading 4 causes for construction injuries being falls, being hit by an object, getting caught in between objects and electrocution.

A freak accident last year underscored this point. A measuring tape came loose from a construction worker’s tool belt while he was working atop a 50 story high-rise. When his tape fell, it struck a man on the head as he was delivering wall board to the project. The delivery man was unfortunately not wearing a hard hat and subsequently died from his injury. OSHA’s hope is that better recordkeeping and faster reporting will allow it to assist employers in making their work environments more safe.

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