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How Should We Handle Off-Hour Injuries? Here’s What OSHA Says.

Toby Graham /

Unfortunately, injuries happen at all times, even during off-business hours and on the weekends. You may need to report injuries to OSHA even for after-hours events. If an accident does occur, do your employees know when to report and who is responsible for reporting?

Let’s take a real-life scenario:

See how quickly an accident can occur, and reporting can get overlooked.

Imagine it’s a lovely Saturday morning at a dealership. Bob, one of your salespeople, is out on the lot checking vehicle labels. An excited customer pulls into the lot but can’t see well due to the bright morning glare. They inadvertently drive too close to Bob and roll over his foot.

Immediately after the “accident,” Bob feels little pain. His adrenaline is high, and his initial feeling is one of slight discomfort. The safety coordinator is off on Saturdays, but another salesperson suggests that Bob goes to the hospital just in case. Bob departs before the dealership is even fully open for business.

The day carries forward with a rush of customers, and within hours, everyone has forgotten about Bob’s injury. Unfortunately, it was far worse than he had initially thought. After his adrenaline wore off, he found himself in greater pain, and x-rays revealed significant damage to his foot. Doctors admit Bob to the hospital for surgery.

Bob doesn’t show up for work on Monday, prompting his co-workers to recall his injury. At this point, the safety coordinator is in and realizes that Bob’s injury was never reported to OSHA.

OSHA reporting regulations require that:

“Within twenty-four (24) hours after an in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee’s amputation or an employee’s loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report to OSHA.”

In this storyline, the dealership is in violation of OSHA reporting requirements.

What should this dealership do to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future?

Every dealership should have a safety coordinator.

Often the safety coordinator is a general manager or on the management team. Many dealerships have found success with their safety culture when their safety coordinator is an individual who works closely with the employees who work directly on the shop floor.

The safety coordinator is responsible for the safety culture at your dealership. And in this case, is responsible for reporting an injury and ensuring everyone knows how to respond in an off-hours incident.

Everyone should have a role and a responsibility in the event of an accident. A safety coordinator can set up a schedule for those responsible for reporting and checking in on injured people during every shift.

It is never the injured party’s responsibility to report their injury.

As a general rule of thumb, you should have a process for handling all workplace injuries.

Some facilities have had success with a process like this:

  • Call 911 or take the injured party to the emergency room if the injury is an emergency.
  • If the injury is not just first aid and not an emergency, the employee should visit the facility’s designated clinic, physician, or emergency room.
  • An employee on the scene should notify management or call the safety coordinator immediately.
  • Management is responsible for reporting the injury to OSHA within 24 hours of the injury.
  • Within 48 hours of occurrence, an accident investigation should be completed.

Not only is it essential to have a method to handle injuries during off-hours from an OSHA standpoint, but it’s also important because it’s good for employees and good for business.

We’ve collected a bunch of resources for you to make sure you’re on the right side of OSHA reporting requirements. And even more about assigning a safety coordinator and implementing a safety culture.

Once you’ve studied up, KPA is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us and we’d be happy to show you how.

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