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OSHA implements new rules on workplace accidents

Colorado workplace accidents can leave employees unable to work for several days or much longer. In cases that lead to serious injuries or deaths, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate and determine whether employers are at fault. OSHA recently announced new regulations and standards that employers must follow.

These new regulations require that an employer contact OSHA no less than eight hours after an accident occurs that leads to the death of one or more workers. Employers must also contact OSHA within 24 hours after an accident occurs that sends a worker to the hospital or when an employee loses an eye or limb at work. The new standards are significantly different from the old regulations, which only required that employers alert OSHA if multiple workers received injuries in the same accident. There are some exceptions to these new standards. OSHA does not require that employers report deaths that occur more than one month after the initial accident or if an employee only received some minor testing after an accident.

Colorado workers' compensation is a type of insurance program that allows workers to receive financial compensation after an accident. Many workers' compensation programs prohibit employees from later suing an employer due to negligence after an employee accepts the benefits. However, if the accident was due to the negligence of a non-employer third party, the worker may be able in some cases to bring a separate action against the wrongdoer.

The benefits that may be available under workers' compensation can include payment or reimbursement of medical costs as well as a percentage of wages that were lost while the injured employee was unable to work. An attorney can provide assistance throughout the claims process.

Source: Insurance Journal, "New OSHA Reporting Rules on Workplace Deaths, Hospitalizations in Effect Jan. 1", December 31, 2014

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