One of the most common questions we get asked when it comes to reporting injuries is – “we missed the 8 hour window, should we still report this injury to OSHA?” And it is always a tough one to answer. Legally, we would NEVER advise you not to report an injury to OSHA. But when this question comes up we know what’s next.
Most people start to weigh the risks – they’re risk managers right? If they don’t report it and OSHA doesn’t find out, then they get to pass go and not spend $5,000.00 on a late report citation. But if OSHA does find out, then they have to pony up the big $5k. Either way most people are going to opt to take their chance and see if they can get out of paying $5k. I don’t blame them, but it is not a smart move.
Here’s why. When it comes time to appeal your citation you are going to have absolutely no wiggle room to negotiate your late report citation. Few people understand that they the Appeals Board has the authority to give you a “good faith” discount up to 30% and a history discount up to 10%. But you get none of these if you never reported the injury.
If you miss the 8 hour deadline then the smart thing to do is report the injury, even if it is late, as soon as you become aware of it. That’s the good faith effort discussed above and it may save you some big bucks down the road. At the very least it will give you some valid ground to appeal your citation and a gambling chance at saving $2,000.00 because if you gamble and lose, you better get your checkbook ready.