The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to maintain logs on any or all injuries and illnesses occurring to their employees. In addition, employers must report to OSHA within eight hours any case involving a work-related fatality or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees as the result of a work-related incident. Employers should report all work-place deaths, even if they are not work-related. OSHA will determine whether it needs to investigate or not.
To determine the location of your local federal or state OSHA office or to report a fatality call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). The TTY number is 1-877-889-5627. You are not permitted to send an email or simply leave a voice mail message as your fatality notification.
The following is text from OSHA's 1904.39 regulation on Reporting Fatalities.
º 1904.39 Reporting fatalities and multiple hospitalization incidents to OSHA.
(a) Basic requirement. Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee from a work-related incident or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees as a result of a work-related incident, you must orally report the fatality/multiple hospitalization by telephone or in person to the Area Office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Labor, that is nearest to the site of the incident. You may also use the OSHA toll-free central telephone number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).
(b) Implementation. (1) If the Area Office is closed, may I report the incident by leaving a message on OSHA's answering machine, faxing the area office, or sending an e-mail? No, if you can't talk to a person at the Area Office, you must report the fatality or multiple hospitalization incident using the 800 number.
(2) What information do I need to give to OSHA about the incident? You must give OSHA the following information for each fatality or multiple hospitalization incident:
(i) The establishment name;
(ii) The location of the incident;
(iii) The time of the incident;
(iv) The number of fatalities or hospitalized employees;
(v) The names of any injured employees;
(vi) Your contact person and his or her phone number; and
(vii) A brief description of the incident.
(3) Do I have to report every fatality or multiple hospitalization incident resulting from a motor vehicle accident? No, you do not have to report all of these incidents. If the motor vehicle accident occurs on a public street or highway, and does not occur in a construction work zone, you do not have to report the incident to OSHA. However, these injuries must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.
(4) Do I have to report a fatality or multiple hospitalization incident that occurs on a commercial or public transportation system? No, you do not have to call OSHA to report a fatality or multiple hospitalization incident if it involves a commercial airplane, train, subway or bus accident. However, these injuries must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.
(5) Do I have to report a fatality caused by a heart attack at work? Yes, your local OSHA Area Office director will decide whether to investigate the incident, depending on the circumstances of the heart attack.
(6) Do I have to report a fatality or hospitalization that occurs long after the incident? No, you must only report each fatality or multiple hospitalization incident that occurs within thirty (30) days of an incident.
(7) What if I don't learn about an incident right away? If you do not learn of a reportable incident at the time it occurs and the incident would otherwise be reportable under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, you must make the report within eight (8) hours of the time the incident is reported to you or to any of your agent(s) or employee(s).
Bloodborne Pathogen Standard (Clean Up)
If an employee dies on company property or a work site and blood or other bodily fluids were discharged, OSHA requires employers to protect workers who render first aid from bloodborne pathogens and the clean-up of the affected area afterwards. Generally,
- Employees who are likely to be exposed to any bloodborne pathogens should wear gloves when treating a patient and while cleaning up the area.
- After treatment, gloves should be disposed in an approved hazardous waste container which is then properly disposed.
- Any affected employee should wash their hands and any other affected area "with soap and water, or flush mucous membranes with water immediately or as soon as feasible following contact of such body areas with blood or other potentially infectious materials."
- After washing, OSHA requires that the employer offer a Hepatitis B vaccination to the exposed employee. The first shot must be given within 24 hours of exposure to be effective. Generally, if an exposed employee is taken to the hospital immediately afterwards, the hospital staff will educate the employee about accepting the vaccine. The employer must pay for the vaccinations.
All first aid materials (e.g., gloves, bandages, etc.) should be immediately replaced by the employer.
Most graphic arts firms are not required to have a full bloodborne pathogen program, but they must comply with the basic requirements when an incident has occurred.
If law enforcement responded to the scene, a report will be filed on the incident. This report can be picked up at the police station, but it may take a couple of days until it is ready. Insurance companies may request this information to process claims. If police are on the scene, a company manager/supervisor should be assigned by the company to assist the officer in handling employees, controlling access, limiting company exposure, while cooperating as much as possible with the investigation. Follow a similar protocol with respect to handling an outside agency, such as OSHA. For example, if an agency takes a picture, you should take a picture of the same view, note who is interviewed, etc. This material should become part of the company's accident investigation report.
Fire Department/Rescue Squad Report
If the Fire and Rescue Department responds to the scene, it should create a "Run/Incident Report" on the patient. That is public record and can be obtained from the fire department, county office or city hall. These reports are frequently tracked on a statewide basis as well. Insurance companies may request this information to process a claim. The cost of a report is usually nominal (under $10.00).
In a few jurisdictions the Fire Department and Rescue Squads are separate agencies and thus will have their own separate reports that an insurance company may request.
- Form 300 (The Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses)Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses)Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report)
All of the above forms and directions can be downloaded at www.osha.gov.Insurance Information and NotificationWorkers' Compensation Insurance Claims (from treatment of fatal wounds)
If the patient is pronounced dead at the hospital, there will still be a charge for the hospital services. The company's benefits administrator should contact the hospital to ensure that claims are filed and processed in a timely manner, as the family may not have time or even think to file a claim. Every state regulates its workers' compensation laws a little differently. Employers are encouraged to check with their workers' compensation carrier or PIA affiliate for specific state requirements. Generally, claims for death and injury are similar in nature. Some states require that, when an employee's death is not immediate, a First Report of Injury Form should be filed. Otherwise, a death claim benefit may not be paid. Workers' compensation investigators will conduct their own investigations and will visit the site, conduct interviews of other employees, request various company reports and records, and obtain Police and Fire/Rescue reports.Business Travel Accident Policy
Your company may have a Business Travel Accident Policy for employees. This insurance is usually additional life insurance in the case of death while traveling for the company. Generally, the checklist for claims on this type of policy is similar to other types of insurance. You should have the following information:
- Employee's name, position, and departmentEmployee's birth dateEmployee's home addressEmployee's social security numberApproximate cause and circumstances of death (accident, illness, on the job, at home, etc.)Date and hour of deathName, address, telephone number, and birth date of spouse and eligible dependent(s) if known or as shown on insurance enrollment form Beneficiary(ies) designated in the life insurance policy, or name and address of nearest relativeName, address, and telephone number of person handling the settlement of the estate (attorney, relative, etc.) if known Insurance policy numbersPolice reportFire Department/Rescue Squad "Run/Incident Report" (Depending on your jurisdiction, these may be two separate reports.)
Employers have told us that how a company handles the death of an employee illustrates a great deal about the philosophy of the company's leadership. Handling the details with grace and compassion shows that a company values its employees and is willing to go the extra mile to ease transitions even though tragedy has struck. Being prepared before a death occurs will make the transition smoother for all concerned.We urge you to use the Readiness Evaluation to prepare your company. If a death occurs at your workplace, the Action Checklist should help serve the needs of the decedent's family and your employees, as well as protecting the company's rights and public image in the event of an accident.