“It's been pretty dramatic,” said Edwin Foulke, an Atlanta-based partner at Fisher & Phillips L.L.P. and a former OSHA assistant secretary of labor. “In talking with regional administrators and area directors, it sounds like they are swamped with calls.”
A major change is that that losing a fingertip with or without bone loss is considered an amputation and is reportable, said Tressi Cordaro, a Washington-based shareholder at Jackson Lewis P.C.
This type of fingertip loss is not uncommon, particularly in restaurants and supermarkets, experts say.
“I think that's probably been the biggest problem employers have had, figuring out what OSHA exactly means by amputation,” said Lisa Neuberger, editor and workplace safety expert at consulting and training firm J.J. Keller & Associates Inc. in Neenah, Wis.
Moving from reporting three hospitalized employees to one could increase reportable hospitalizations by as much as 30,000, said Eric Conn, Washington-based partner and chair of the OSHA/workplace safety practice group of Conn Maciel Carey P.L.L.C.
Employers may not realize that in-patient hospitalization means being formally admitted to in-patient services of a hospital and undergoing treatment, Ms. Cordaro said.
“Employers should always err on the side of caution and report the event if it's questionable,” she said.
The ambiguity often comes in determining what is a work-related fatality or injury, such as when an employee has a heart attack on the job or hours after leaving the office — real-life scenarios encountered by Mr. Foulke's clients. OSHA must prove the heart attack was work-related, but the employer has to make that determination quickly for reporting purposes, he said.
This report appeared on the website of Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.