On September 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, announced new rules for American businesses of all sizes. As of January 1, 2015, whenever an employee is killed, has a body part amputated, loses an eye, or is sent to the hospital due to an on-the-job occurrence, his or her employer must report that casualty to OSHA. What's more, that information will be posted online. Therefore, it will be available not only to every local government official and Houston industrial accident attorney but to the general public as well. Under the updated guidelines, people must file those OSHA reports within 24 hours in cases of nonfatal accidents and within eight hours whenever a person dies. The previous rules stated that employers only had to report such incidents to OSHA whenever three or more employees were seriously harmed in the same incident. In addition to the new requirements, OSHA is making it easier for companies to report such problems. Specifically, it is creating a web portal that any employer can use, and as before, people can also contact OSHA by phone. Moreover, every company that is mandated by OSHA to keep records of employee injuries and illnesses will have to send those records to the agency each quarter via a secure website. The businesses that must keep such records are establishments with at least 20 staff members and/or establishments within certain fields that OSHA deems to be high-risk: for example, the construction industry. In a statement, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez indicated that these new rules are aimed at reducing the injuries and deaths that take place at American workplaces every year. According to Perez, businesses can generally prevent those tragedies. Even so, in 2013, 4,405 Americans were killed on the job, a number that includes 493 people in Texas. Given those grim figures, OSHA officials hope that these reporting requirements will induce many employers to take extra safety measures. Indeed, as these reports will be posted online, certain business owners might wish to improve their safety records so that they will not face consumer backlashes and so that they can attract the most promising job candidates. Furthermore, OSHA researchers and independent safety experts will be able to glean a much fuller sense of the hazards that Americans face whenever they go to work. With that information, those authorities could then discern which work environments pose unique dangers. Over time, they will likely devise innovative ways of making those places safer. By contrast, OSHA's current system of collecting data does not provide a comprehensive overview of workplace risks. That is because the agency does not yet collect the sickness and injury data of most companies. This information will likewise be helpful to any attorney who is investigating an injury or wrongful death in an industrial accident. For instance, a Houston refinery accident lawyer could scrutinize a particular refinery's data to establish a pattern of neglect in terms of worker safety. At the same time, though, OSHA will begin to excuse certain businesses from having to keep sickness and injury records in the first place. That is, companies within certain industries that OSHA deems to be particularly safe ― according to illness, injury, and death statistics over the decades will no longer be required to maintain such records. Junior colleges, insurance carriers, and flower shops are a few examples of low-risk operations; OSHA provides a full list of those establishments on its website. However, if a government agency instructs a particular company to keep safety records, that business must comply with that demand even if it's part of an exempt field.