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Serious Injury Reporting to Cal/OSHA

The goal of every employer’s safety program is to prevent employee injuries and illnesses in the workplace. But if a serious injury, illness, or death occurs in the workplace, reporting Work-Connected Fatalities and Serious Injuries under Title 8, California Code of Regulations, Section 342, needs to be done quickly and accurately. 

Cal/OSHA defines an employee’s serious injury or illness in the following ways:

  • Inpatient hospitalization for a period in excess of 24 hours for other than medical observation.
  • A loss of a body part.
  • A serious, permanent disfigurement.

Serious injury reports must be made immediately to the Cal/OSHA district office closest to the location of the incident. 

  • Cal/OSHA defines ‘immediately’ as being as soon as practically possible, but no longer than eight hours after the incident or when the employer was made aware of the incident.
  • If an employer can demonstrate that exigent circumstances exist, the time frame to report cannot be any longer than 24 hours after the incident.

Reporting work related serious injuries is required in most cases. But there are some instances when an injury, illness, or death is not subject to these reporting requirements including those:

  • Caused by the commission of a Penal Code violation, except the violation of Section 385, which makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to be within six feet of an overhead electric line having a voltage in excess of 750 volts.
  • Caused by an accident on a public street or highway.

Make sure you have a workplace policy in place that clearly defines what constitutes a serious injury and outlines steps to gather the necessary information to report it immediately to Cal/OSHA. Train staff and supervisors on the policy and procedures for reporting serious injuries. The policy should include:

  • Definitions of serious injury and illness.
  • Types of incidents that should be reported.
  • A phone number for the local Cal/OSHA district office.
  • A form or list of questions to help gather information for the report.

Information to include in the report to Cal/OSHA includes:

  • Time and date of accident.
  • Employer's name, address, and telephone number.
  • Name and job title, or badge number of person reporting the accident.
  • Address of site of accident or event.
  • Name of person to contact at site of accident.
  • Name and address of injured employee(s).
  • Nature of injury.
  • Location to which injured employee(s) was moved.
  • List and identity of law enforcement agencies present at the site of accident.
  • Description of accident and whether the accident scene or equipment was altered.

Time is critical in reporting serious injury or death to make sure the worker gets the benefits to which he or she is entitled and it is required by law. Per Labor Code 6409.1 (b), an employer who violates this requirement may be assessed a civil penalty of not less than five thousand dollars.

Safety News is produced by State Compensation Insurance Fund to assist clients in their loss prevention efforts. Information or recommendations contained in this publication were obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the date of publication. Information is only advisory and does not presume to be exhaustive or inclusive of all workplace hazards or situations. Permission to reprint articles subject to approval by State Compensation Insurance Fund.

©2015 State Compensation Insurance Fund

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