Before the Act became effective, no centralized and systematic method existed for monitoring occupational safety and health problems. Statistics on job injuries and illnesses were collected by some states and by some private organizations; national figures were based on not-altogether-reliable projections. With OSHA came the first basis for consistent, nationwide procedures — a vital requirement for gauging problems and solving them.
29 CFR Part 1904 requires that employers with 11 or more employees maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses as they occur. Employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from keeping such records unless they are selected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to participate in the Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses or OSHA to participate in the site-specific injury and illness survey.
The purposes of keeping records are to permit injury and illness data to be compiled, to help define high hazard industries, and to inform employees of the status of their employer's record. Employers in state plan states are required to keep the same records as employers in other states.
An injury or illness is recordable if it results in death; days away from work; restricted work; transfer to another job; medical treatment beyond first aid; loss of consciousness; or a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or healthcare professional (HCP).
Record an injury or illness that results in an employee's death on the OSHA 300 Log and report it to OSHA within eight hours.
Days away from work
When an injury or illness involves one or more days away from work, record it on the OSHA 300 Log known. Begin counting days away on the day after the injury occurred or the illness began.
Restricted work occurs when you keep the employee from performing one or more routine job functions; from working the full workday that he or she would otherwise have been scheduled to work; or a HCP recommends that the employee not perform routine functions the job, or work a full workday.
If you assign an injured or ill employee to a job other than his or her regular job for part of the day, the case involves transfer to another job.
Medical treatment beyond first aid
If a work-related injury or illness results in medical treatment beyond first aid, record it on the OSHA 300 Log. OSHA's list of first aid treatments is inclusive, that is, you can look at it and without elaborate analysis, can determine whether a treatment is first aid and thus not recordable.
Loss of consciousness
Every work-related injury or illness case involving a complete loss of consciousness (not merely a sense of disorientation or other diminished level of awareness) is recordable, regardless of the length of time the employee remains unconscious.
Significant injury or illness
Significant diagnosed work-related injuries or illnesses are recordable under the general criteria, even if they do not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
Verbal Report to OSHA
If an on-the-job accident occurs which results in the death of an employee or in the hospitalization of three or more employees, all employers, regardless of the number of employees, are required to verbally report the accident within eight hours to the nearest OSHA office or the national OSHA hotline at (800) 321-OSHA (6742).
In states with approved plans, employers report such accidents to the state agency responsible for safety and health programs.
Employers must keep injury and illness records for each establishment. An establishment is a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. For activities where employees do not work at a single physical location, such as construction; transportation; communications, electric, gas and sanitary services; and similar operations, the establishment is represented by main or branch offices, terminals, stations, etc. that either supervise such activities or are the base from which personnel carry out these activities.
An employer whose employees work in dispersed locations must keep records at the place where the employees report for work. For employees who telecommute from home, the employee's home is not a business establishment and a separate 300 Log is not required. Employees who telecommute must be linked to one of the company's establishments.
OSHA Recordkeeping Forms
Recordkeeping forms are maintained on a calendar year basis. The forms are not routinely sent to OSHA or any other agency, however, OSHA may request the information in a survey format. Recordkeeping forms must be maintained for five years at the establishment and must be available for inspection by representatives of OSHA, HHS, BLS or the designated state agency.
OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses: The OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses replaces the OSHA 200. Use the OSHA 300 to document recordable injuries and illnesses, either electronically or on paper. You may use forms that are different from the OSHA 300 Log, provided that the electronic record or paper forms are equivalent to the 300 Log. Record the injury or illness within seven calendar days of receiving information that it occurred.
OSHA 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report: The OSHA 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report replaces the OSHA 101. For each recordable injury or illness on the 300 Log, complete a 301 Incident Report form, or an equivalent. The 301 is designed to accommodate lengthier, detailed information about the incident. Many employers use an insurance form instead of the 301 Incident Report, or supplement an insurance form by adding any additional information required by OSHA. Record the injury or illness within seven calendar days of receiving information that it occurred.
OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses: The OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses is a new form for posting the annual summary of injuries and illnesses. At the end of each calendar year:
Review your 300 Log to verify that the entries are complete and accurate, and correct any deficiencies identified.
Create an annual summary by totaling the columns on the 300 Log. If you had no recordable cases, enter zeros for each column total. Using the OSHA Form 300A (or an equivalent), enter the calendar year covered, the establishment name and address, annual average number of employees covered by the 300 Log, and the total hours worked by all employees covered by the Log. If you are using an equivalent form, also include the employee access and employer penalty statements found on the OSHA 300A Summary.
Certify that the information is accurate. A company executive must certify that he or she has examined the 300 Log and believes that the summary is correct and complete. The company executive may be the owner (only if the company is a sole proprietorship or partnership), an officer in the corporation, the highest ranking official (or immediate supervisor) working at the establishment.
Post a copy of the annual summary in each establishment in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted. Post it no later than February 1 of the year following the year covered by the records and keep the posting in place until April 30. Ensure that it is always available for viewing by employees.
You may keep injury and illness records on computer equipment only if the computer system can produce paper copy equivalent forms when access to them is required by OSHA, an employee or former employee, or employee representative. Also, the records may be emailed. A form is considered "equivalent" when it:
Has the same information,
Is as readable and understandable, and
Is completed using the same instructions as the OSHA form it replaces.
Annual BLS Survey: Employers selected to participate in the annual statistical survey receive in the mail, soon after the close of the year, a form for this purpose. Each employer selected must complete this report, using the OSHA 300 Log as the source of information, and return it to BLS. Small business employers, those with 10 or fewer employees that are normally exempted from keeping injury and illness records, may be selected to complete the survey. In this case, they are notified at the beginning of the year and supplied with an OSHA 300 Log.
Annual OSHA Reporting Survey: Employers selected to participate in OSHA's annual site-specific injury and illness survey will receive in the mail a survey form to complete. The survey requires each employer to report the number of workers employed, the number of hours worked, and occupational injuries and illnesses recorded on the OSHA 300 Log during the specified time period. The completed survey must be returned to OSHA within 30 calendar days or the time period indicated on the survey form.
Employers that are normally exempt from OSHA's injury and illness recordkeeping requirements may also be required to complete a survey. These employers will be notified a year in advance that they have been selected to participate in the information collection procedure and must then maintain injury and illness data for the upcoming year. At the end of the year, they will receive a survey from OSHA to be completed and returned within 30 calendar days.
In addition, many specific OSHA standards have recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
A copy of the totals and summary information for the year must be posted at each establishment wherever notices to employees are customarily posted. For the year 2001, an OSHA 200 summary must be posted by February 1 and kept in place until March 1. Beginning with 2002 reporting, an OSHA 300A must be completed and posted from February 1 through April 30. When no injuries or illnesses occurred during the year, enter zeros on the "totals" line and post the form for the required time period.
Employers wishing to set up a recordkeeping system different from the one required by OSHA regulations may apply for a recordkeeping variance. Petitions for recordkeeping variances must detail and justify the employer's intended procedures and must be submitted to the regional commissioner of BLS for the area in which the workplace is located. Similarly, in state plan states, only BLS can grant a variance from recordkeeping requirements.
As with applications for variances from standards, an employer filing for a recordkeeping variance must give a copy of the application to the employees' authorized representative. The employer also must post a summary of the application wherever notices are normally posted. Employees have 10 working days to submit to BLS their own written data, views or arguments.