When the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created as a result of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, there was one goal in mind: to set and enforce standards for safe and healthy working conditions in all workplaces, for all workers. Since its creation, OSHA has imposed mandatory standards for employers to help ensure that all workplaces remain safe and healthy for employees.
One of those mandatory standards for all employers is to report any severe or fatal work-related injuries to OSHA within eight hours of their occurrence. Failure to do so can result in civil and criminal penalties for the employer. However, what role does the employee play in reporting his or her own injuries? Is an employee even required to report their injury to OSHA?
What injuries are reportable to OSHA?
First, it is important to know what OSHA considers a reportable injury. Any workplace injury that results in severe injury or death to an employee should be reported to OSHA. Any injury that causes an employee to lose workdays, restrict their work activity, or obtain medical treatment beyond mere first aid is a reportable injury.
Injuries that result in loss of consciousness, eye or hearing loss can be considered reportable injuries. Injuries that create a significant illness or condition diagnosed by a healthcare professional, such as cancer or any other chronic irreversible disease can also be classified as reportable injuries.
What is the employer’s role in reporting injuries?
All employers bear the responsibility of reporting fatal work-related injuries to OSHA within the time span of eight hours. For severe injuries that result in an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or the loss of an eye, employers must report the injury within a time span of 24 hours. It is important for employers to record and maintain records of these injuries, as the records should be retained for five years. No matter how minor or severe the injury, employers must report and keep a record of all work-related injuries.
What if my employer fails to report my work injury?
When an employer fails to report their employee’s job injury, it can cause several issues for the employee. Even in incidents where the employee may be injured but immediate medical attention is not required, it is in the employee’s best interest to report the injury. If the injury is not reported immediately, the employer could either deny that the incident occurred or that the incident occurred at the workplace. This can put the employee in an unfortunate position of being denied workers’ compensation benefits.
What are Maryland workers’ compensation benefits?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance provided to employees in exchange for the right to sue employers for negligence. When an employee is injured at the workplace, they are entitled to wage replacement and medical benefits courtesy of workers’ compensation and agree not to sue their employer.
If the employer does not report an employee’s injury to the workers’ compensation board, the worker can lose out on the chance to receive adequate compensation for their injuries. They will lose their ability to receive medical treatment and benefits for time missed from work.
Could my employer’s failure to report to OSHA affect my workers’ compensation claim?
Generally, employers have a deadline of 10 days to report work-related injuries to the workers’ compensation board (unless they are severe or fatal, then they fall into the 24- or 8-hour window). Failing to report an employee’s work-related injuries can put you in a difficult position if the injury gets worse and impacts your ability to work. If any work-related injuries are not reported on time, it is easier for your employer to deny you medical treatments or out-of-work benefits.
Workers’ compensation insurance companies will make your ability to receive benefits more difficult by questioning why you did not report the injury on time, and your private health insurance carrier will outright refuse to pay for treatment related to any work-related injuries. This will put you in a difficult position of taking time off from work and risking suspension without pay, or having to pay for the medical expenses out of your own pocket.
Do I need to report my Maryland work injury, too?
Yes. Needless to say, reporting your work-related injury is important. Similar to your employer, there is an imposed deadline for you to report any injury that occurs at the workplace. Many employers impose a deadline of 24 hours for employees to report a work-related injury. Here in Maryland, workers have 10 days to report the accident to their employer in writing. It is in your best interest to file your claim as soon as possible with the help of an experienced attorney.
Did you suffer a work-related injury? If so, it is important to report the injury to your employer immediately and seek medical attention. A Maryland workers’ compensation attorney from Plaxen Adler Muncy, PA can guide you through the process. Call one of our many offices in Maryland at 410-730-7737, or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation.