When an employee is injured at work the Commonwealth of Virginia requires their employer to file a 1st Report of Injury. Usually this Report is sent to your Workers' Insurance Carrier which then forwards it to Virginia.
Virginia VOSH also has a separate requirement for an employer to report a work-related fatality within 8 hours.
BEWARE that Virginia's VOSH [Virginia's State OSHA Plan] staff reviews all 1st Reports and will initiate Enforcement action based on this information.
There was a recent Virginia case where an office employee at a consulting company was found dead at their desk after hours -- presumably as a result of a non-work related heart attack.
That employer did not file notice with VOSH during the 8-hour mandatory reporting period for work related fatalities, and when VOSH learned of the death it initiated an enforcement action and issued a Serious Citation with a proposed fine of $5,000 for the employer failure to report.
In my opinion, the VOSH decision to issue a Citation and fine this employer for a non-work related death exceeded their statutory authority, since the death was the result of the employee's personal health condition and had nothing whatsoever to do with the employee's work. In fact, a death at work which is not the result of the work is not even covered by Workers' Compensation in Virginia.
So in the future, where no work-related nexis exists with the death and an employee also dies at home, will VOSH next claim a failure to report has occurred and propose to fine the employer?
This would amount to VOSH presuming to have jurisdiction to investigate all deaths which occur in the Commonwealth -- whether work-related or not -- and issue a Citation and proposed fine.
Neither VOSH or OSHA haveany such authority under the enabling regulations and this inappropriate expansion of their jurisdiction must be firmly rejected.
Comment: We urge extreme caution when reporting any fatality or an amputation or loss of a eye and recommend you first seek competent advice.
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