New rules are in place for reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses. The turn of the New Year brings several new Florida laws, including one that boosts the state’s minimum wage from $7.93 to $8.05 effective January 1 and benefitting some 360,000 low-wage workers. But that’s not all. Another new law is getting far less media attention, but potentially can have a major impact on companies and employees in the Sunshine State. Effective New Year’s Day and mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers nationwide are required to notify the agency when an employee is killed on the job within eight hours and to report any work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye within 24 hours. Prior to enactment of the new reporting mandates, OSHA only required employers to report work-related deaths and hospitalizations of three or more employees. Single hospitalizations, amputations or eye losses were not required. In 2013, 4,405 workers were killed on the job and more than 3 million private industry employees were reported to have suffered work-related injuries or illnesses, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them,” US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said earlier this year. “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,” added Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. The new rule also updates the list of employers that are partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements due to relatively low occupational injury and illness rates. These include establishments in specific low hazard retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate industries. Firms with more than 10 employees and those not classified as a partially exempt industry must record all work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301, available on the agency’s website. As a current or former employee who suffered an injury or loss on the job, you have the right, personally or via a representative, to access a company’s injury and illness records – something that may be needed in the case of a workers’ compensation lawsuit filed on your behalf. Employers must provide copies of all relevant records by the end of the next business day. If you are injured at work or if you’ve lost a loved one to a workplace incident, contact Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111 today. We specialize in helping injured workers and their families throughout Florida and Georgia to secure fair compensation for all work-related losses.