Upon their inception in 1971 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strived to create a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. One of their methods for achieving this is to ensure companies maintain a record of any work related illnesses or injuries.
Record keeping and reporting is an extremely important aspect of OSHA compliance, the information gathered provides insight that will be used to evaluate the safety of sectors governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
While record keeping and reporting may seem like a simple and even straightforward task this is not always the case. Inaccurate reporting can lead to financial penalties as other repercussions due to non compliance. However this should not discourage businesses from complying with the guidelines as the information gathered can assist OSHA in defining common problems and eliminating these potential issues.
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It must be noted that there are a few organizations exempt from the record keeping guidelines such as Churches, law firms and businesses with fewer than 10 employees.
In this piece we will be unpacking the requirements stated by OSHA that the majority of sectors, such as construction and manufacturing will follow in order to remain compliant.
A common requirement amongst all sectors is the completion of the following OSHA documents:
- OSHA Form 300 – This form is used to classify and categorize work related injuries and illnesses, the extent of the injury must be recorded alongside the other relevant details and a description of how the illness or injury occurred.
- OSHA Form 300A – Much like the OSHA Form 300 this form will contain information on employee illnesses and injuries, however the form collects information annually over the course of 12 months, from 1 February to 30 April. At the end of each yearly cycle the form must be posted at a location that is visible for employees to view so they are aware of the potential illnesses and injuries. In the case of multiple locations copies must be made available and posted at the other locations.
- OSHA Form 301 – This form must be completed within seven days of a recordable injury of illness occurring to an employee. Detail information must be included regarding the injury or illness and the steps taken to treat it, the details of the physician must also be included in this report.
The reporting logs listed above must be kept up to date in the event that an occupational health and safety inspector visits the businesses worksite. Logs must also be stored for at least five years in order for the business to remain compliant.
The logs can be stored physically however it is highly advisable to have a cloud based health and safety platform such as Safety Assure. Electronic filing of these records allows businesses to securely manage their records digitally, Safety Assures enables this functionality while reducing the burden of paperwork and streamlining the reporting process.
As previously mentioned injury and illness reporting will be done in the OSHA 300 Form. The requirements for reporting are employee deaths caused by work related injuries, in patient hospitalization and serious injuries such as the loss of a limb. Death must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours after the death and within 30 days of the incident that caused it. Reporting can be done through the OSHA website, visiting your local OSHA office or by calling their number on 1-800-321-6742.
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OSHA defines an incident as recordable if it results in the following:
- Multiple days away from work;
- Employees who require medical treatment beyond general first aid;
- Loss of consciousness;
- Employees who are required to transfer to a different position or are restricted from doing certain tasks.
With an understanding of the requirements needed to meet the recording and recordkeeping guidelines we can address instances which occur that will not be considered work related, as defined by OSHA.
- If the employee’s injury shows signs or symptoms at work that occur solely from non work related activities, such as exposure to mold within their home.
- Injuries or illnesses that occur solely from the consumption of food or drinks on the worksite, for example choking during their lunch break.
- An injury or illness that may occur solely from person tasks an employee may be conducting during work hours.
- Injuries that occur while commuting to and from work.
- Injuries that are self inflicted.
These are a few of the situations that will not be considered as recordable, however if an employer is in doubt it will be in their best interest to record the case.
Gaining an understanding of the situations that are recordable and reportable will provide a solid foundation for s business who looks to maintain OSHA compliance. Knowing the reasons why OSHA requires that certain incidents be recorded also assist business gaining a deeper understanding of why it is necessary, and with advancements made toward occupational health and safety recording platforms the process does not need to be considered a chore any longer.