Reporting a Serious Injury, Illness, or Death

January 22nd, 2013

Many of us know that as California based employers you have a responsibility to contact Cal/OSHA to report any serious injury, illness, or death (Title 8, Section 342). Even though Title 8, Section 330 (h) clearly defines what and when to report work related injuries we still struggle with when to call if a case is not believed to be work related.

Section 342 under (b) requires any state, county, or local fire or police agency that responds to a serious incident involving an employee to report the call to Cal/OSHA. This however does not release the employer of the responsibility to also report the incident.

So, if you’re scratching your head like the rest of us, it’s a good rule of thumb to contact Cal/OSHA in all cases where emergency responders are summoned when a staff member is involved. Be certain to explain your position about whether the incident appears work related when you call. If you don’t, Cal/OSHA will be left with their opinion of the Emergency Responders report which may not provide enough detail to determine whether the injury or illness is work related. Lack of pertinent information could cause Cal/OSHA to raise the priority of the report and increase the likelihood of an on-site visit.

One Response to “Reporting a Serious Injury, Illness, or Death”

  1. Glenn Boogren     Apr 10, 2013     3:48 pm

    Unfortunately I have a lot of experience with this topic. The important piece is understanding the definition of a serious injury. I always ask the following: Was this an accident on a public street or highway(non-reportable), Will the injured be hospitalized for a period in excess of 24 hours for other than medical observation, was there a loss of any member of the body regardless of how small/minor, will there be any serious degree of permanent disfigurement.

    Usually the most difficult question to answer is if it will require inpatient hospitalization, this determination can take some time and you only have 8 hours to report unless you can prove exigent cisrcumstances prevented a timely notification. There are also times when patient confidentiality hampers your ability to make a determination.

    As with most issues, educating staff on the requirement is key. Pay particular attention to educating night shift staff as this is where most of the late reporting I have seen occurs. As stated in the article, if in doubt report and share as much info as you can.