Changes to OSHA Incident Reporting
by Jim Kaznosky, manager of Environmental and Occupational Safety Programs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule revising the requirements for reporting work-related fatality, injury and illness information, effective January 1, 2015.  The new rule retains the requirement to report all fatalities to OSHA within eight hours, but amends the regulation to require employers to report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, as well as amputations and losses of an eye, to OSHA within 24 hours; inpatient hospitalizations must be reported only if they occur within 24 hours of the incident.  OSHA defines inpatient hospitalization as a formal admission to the inpatient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.

In order to streamline reporting for the University community, EH&S serves as the University-wide reporting entity for OSHA-reportable incidents.   In the event of a workplace incident, the manager of the employee involved in the incident should send an email to, with the subject line “Urgent - OSHA Reportable Incident” and include the following information:

  • Brief description of the work-related incident
  • Location of the work-related incident
  • Time of the work-related incident
  • Type of reportable incident (i.e., fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation or loss of eye)
  • Number of employees who suffered the incident
  • Names of the employees who suffered the incident
  • Contact person and his or her phone number

EH&S wishes to thank all University personnel in advance for taking note of these new requirements.  Let us hope that they are not needed!

ChemTracker & Recycling: Smartphone Option
by Kathy Heinemann, Research Safety Specialist

If you’re a scientist today, you’re probably conscious of recycling. Or maybe you just find it convenient to re-use your 4L amber bottles for liquid waste collection! We’re all familiar with Columbia’s hazardous waste pick-up request for chemical disposal. But if you’re at the Morningside campus, how do you recycle your empty containers while maintaining your laboratory’s ChemTracker inventory? Normally, the empty containers are placed in the yellow bins in the hallways. But now we have a smartphone option, featured in our Insider’s Guide to ChemTracker, so you can reuse your empties and keep the barcoding requirement at Morningside.

There are two ways to reuse your empty bottles. After verifying the waste chemical’s compatibility with your empty container (see our Spring ’14 article here), you must remove the barcode of the empty bottle from the inventory. Barcodes can be physically removed – they peel off easily – and can be stuck to a piece of scrap paper that goes into the yellow bin. Or, simply take a picture of the barcode with your smartphone and email it to with the word “empty”.

The only exception to this is an empty container from a P-listed chemical. P-listed chemical bottles, marked with the pink circular sticker, are collected as hazardous waste even when empty. Don’t worry, your Hazardous Materials Specialist will remove these barcodes for you!

For more information, please visit the ChemTracker website at:


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