Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Reporting of Fatality or Multiple Hospitalization Incidents
• Section: 1
• Title: Section 1 - I. Background

I. Background

The requirements in 29 CFR 1904.8, Reporting of fatality or multiple hospitalization accidents - often referred to as FATCAT (fatality/catastrophe) reports - have remained essentially unchanged since they were initially adopted in 1971. The present requirements read as follows:

Within 48 hours after the occurrence of an employment accident which is fatal to one or more employees or which results in hospitalization of five or more employees, the employer of any employees so injured or killed shall report the accident either orally or in writing to the nearest office of the Area Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. The reporting may be by telephone or telegraph. The report shall relate the circumstances of the accident, the number of fatalities, and the extent of any injuries. The Area Director may require such additional reports, in writing or otherwise, as he deems necessary, concerning the accident.

OSHA, or States operating OSHA-approved State plans, investigate such incidents in order to provide the Agency with information on the causes of employment fatalities, injuries and illnesses to identify and require correction of serious hazards and to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future. Such information can also be a source of support for new and revised safety and health standards. Investigators will determine whether there was a violation of OSHA standards, and, if so, whether the violation may have contributed to the incident. In addition, the Agency determines whether OSHA standards adequately cover the hazards which led to the incident. Therefore, such investigations must be prompt and thorough if they are to provide valid, useful information and achieve their intended purposes.

For many years, OSHA has considered whether changes are needed in 1904.8 to enable the Agency to conduct more effective workplace investigations. In October, 1979, OSHA publi