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Injury Reports to OSHA and When to Do So....

Reporting Serious Injury or Death

We all are a little bit confused as to what process we are to start and what procedure we must follow when someone is sriously hurt. We are all a little shaken and it is hard to think straight in times of crisis.

OSHA has helped set the guidelines which make it pretty simple to follow. I do agree there are incidents which happen of which need some extra consideration, but mostly, these guidelines should help in most situations you encounter.

All employers, regardless of size, must immediately report all incidents that result in any of the following:

  • Death of an employee

  • Hospitalization of an employee for more than 24 hours for treatment other than observation

  • Loss or serious disfigurement of any body part1

You must immediately report a serious injury or death by telephone or email to the nearest Cal/OSHA District Office.2"Immediately" is defined as soon as practically possible, but not longer than eight hours after you know or should have known about the incident. If you can demonstrate that there were problematic circumstances, you can make the report no more than 24 hours after the incident. In addition to making the phone call or sending the email, it is advisable to fax a copy of the report to the Cal/OSHA District Office. Keep a copy that includes the date, time and fax number to which it was sent.

You must submit the incident reports in two situations:

  • When an employee is seriously or fatally injured

  • When you receive an annual survey form from the Bureau of Labor Statistics or a specific request from Cal/OSHA

  • California law mandates a fine of $5,000 for employers who do not report a serious injury or death. Individual employees may be liable for up to one year in jail and/or a $15,000 fine. Corporations face fines up to $150,000.

It is unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate against an employee for reporting a work-related fatality, injury or illness.3 (This is separate from claims of retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim. For more information, see Employee Protection from Workers' Compensation Discrimination.)

When a reportable incident occurs:

  1. Prepare an incident report, which includes all of the following information:

  • Incident time and date

  • Your name, address and telephone number

  • Name and job title or badge number of the person reporting the accident

  • Address of the incident site

  • Name of the person to contact at the incident site

  • For each injured employee:

  • Name and address

  • Nature of the injury

  • Location to which the injured employee was moved

  • ​​Identity of other law enforcement agencies and personnel present at the incident site

  • A description of the incident

  • If the incident scene or equipment that caused the incident was altered

  1. ​​Submit this report to Cal/OSHA no later than eight hours after the incident occurs or eight hours after a death occurs, regardless of the time elapsed between the incident and the death.

To find the nearest Cal/OSHA district office:

  • Look in the state government agencies section of your phone book

  • Read the poster that you must display in your workplace

  • Visit Cal/OSHA's website

Whenever a state, county or local fire or police agency is called to an accident involving an employee in which a serious injury, illness or death occurs, the responding agency must telephone the nearest DOSH office.

You are not required to report incidents that:

  • Occur on a commercial airplane, train or bus

  • Occur in a motor vehicle accident on a public highway

  • Involve a violation of the Penal Code

Agencies other than Cal/OSHA investigate the types of incidents listed above.

Compliance & Safety First will post the next article on recording workplace injuries that do not involve serious injury or death. Be sure to contact us with any Safety needs or questions at 909-481-7223 or email us at

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