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State Changes Serious-Injury Report Criteria, Moves to Eliminate Email Requests

  • State: California
  • Topic: WEST
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New laws that take effect at the start of 2020 will change how employers report accidents to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and revise the criteria for determining which serious job site occupational injuries, illnesses and deaths employers need to disclose, according to a report by EHS Today.

Lawmakers during the 2019 session enacted AB 1804, which changes the reporting requirement and directs employers to immediately disclose incidents via telephone or through a new online portal created by Cal/OSHA. Employers may continue to send incident reports by email until the agency launches the new site.

The Legislature also enacted AB 1805, amending definitions that legislators argue will provide clarity to employers when reporting workplace injuries.

One amendment is the definition of “serious injury or illness.” The law removed the 24-hour minimum time requirement for qualifying hospitalizations in which an employee suffers the loss of a body part or suffers permanent disfigurement. This excludes stays for medical observation or diagnostic testing.

The law replaces “loss of any member of the body” with “amputation,” and includes the loss of an eye as a qualifying injury. AB 1805 also revises the definition of “serious exposure” by including that the exposure of an employee should create a “realistic possibility” — instead of the current “substantial probability” — of death or serious bodily harm.

The law eliminates the exclusion of an injury or illness caused by certain violations of the Penal Code, and narrows the inclusion of accidents on a public street or highway found to have occurred only in a construction zone.

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