The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to prepare and maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses (I&I Logs) as they occur. OSHA also requires employers to post an annual I&I Summary in each “establishment” within their workplace by February 1, summarizing that workplace’s I&Is during the previous calendar year. In states that administer federal standards within state-run programs, employers follow the comparable state requirements. Establishments with 250 or more workers must file electronic summaries by March 2.
Recording Injuries and Illnesses as They Occur
If your organization has more than 10 employees at any time during the year, then you probably are subject to I&I Log and Summary requirements. If your organization meets this threshold, then the Log and Summary requirement applies to all your establishments, including those that individually have fewer than 10 employees. However, OSHA provides exemptions to specified low-hazard industries, which it defines based on 4-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes (available here). Employers in these industries may still be individually requested by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics to record I&Is, and always remain subject to requirements for prompt reporting of occupational deaths and serious injuries (I wrote about those requirements here).
The employer must create a Log of Work-Related I&I, and record each qualifying event. To comply with these requirements, you must consider the following questions:
Who are “covered employees”?
Which I&I events are “occupational” (work-related)?
Which I&I events meet OSHA criteria and must be recorded?
How and when is information recorded in the I&I Log?
Will it be necessary to amend the information at some later time?
How does the employer protect an affected employee’s privacy when posting a log?
An employer must therefore determine whether the incident is even subject to recording—whether a “covered employee” has received an occupational injury or illness. While most incidents will obviously qualify or fail to qualify, OSHA provides guidance and examples covering ambiguous situations. For example, an employer may have to consider whether a heart attack at work was related to the employee’s work activities or a chronic non-work-related illness. Or when an employee on a business trip is or is not on duty.
Once an injury or illness is determined to be work-related, it must be recorded in the employer’s I&I Log (employers use OSHA Form 300 or a state equivalent). Form 300 consists of a number of columns, with the following captions:
Creating and Posting an I&I Summary (Form 300-A)
Each employer subject to the I&I Standard must create an annual summary of all recordable work-related injuries and illnesses for each establishment, on OSHA Form 300-A or equivalent. The annual summary consists of the year’s totals drawn from your OSHA Form 300. If you have no recordable I&I events during a calendar year, prepare OSHA Form 300-A showing zeroes in all the columns.
OSHA requires that a “company executive” certify that he or she has examined each Log, and that he or she reasonably believes, based on his or her knowledge of the process by which the information was recorded, that the information is correct and complete. This certification must be made by the highest-ranking official working at the establishment, his or her supervisor, an officer of a corporation, or the sole proprietor or a partner of a partnership.
Post each annual I&I Summary by February 1, and keep it posted for at least 3 months (until April 30). OSHA Form 300A provides for the following information:
Number of cases—with columns for total numbers of: deaths, cases with days away from work, cases with job transfer or restrictions, and other recordable cases
Number of days—total number of days away from work, and total number of days of job transfer or restriction
Injury and illness types—totals for each of the 6 categories of I&I identified above (injury, skin disorder, respiratory condition, poisoning, hearing loss or other illnesses)
Provide OSHA With Electronic Reports (New-ish Requirements, in Flux)
In May 2016, OSHA adopted requirements that larger employers submit electronic summaries of I&I information from Forms 300, 300-A, and eventually Form 301 (Incident Report) to OSHA – i.e., not just post them for employees – beginning in 2017 (I wrote about these initial requirements here). As agency management has changed, these requirements have been revised and postponed.
On July 1, 2018, 2017 information from Form 300 and 300A was due from all employer establishments with 250 or more employees, and from “high risk” establishments with 20 or more employees. OSHA provides a secure Injury Tracking Application (ITA) for these submissions. Effective February 25, 2019, OSHA has eliminated all but the Form 300-A (summary) reporting requirements, and reaffirmed that the annual deadline for electronic reporting is March 2, beginning with 2018 information due in 2019.
Does the organization have procedures in place for reporting of injuries and illnesses that occur in each workplace “establishment” or during work-related activities?
Does the organization have procedures in place to determine which injuries and illnesses are “work-related?”
Are work-related I&I compiled for each workplace establishment covering events during 2018?
Has each workplace establishment prepared an I&I Summary covering each workplace for 2018?
Is each workplace establishment prepared to post its 2018 I&I Summary during February 1 – April 30, 2019?
Does the organization have any workplace establishments with 250 or more employees?
Is each such establishment prepared to submit required electronic information for 2018 by March 2, 2019?
Where Can I Go For More Information?
OSHA Recordkeeping webpage
OSHA final revised electronic reporting rule (1/25/19 Federal Register)
OSHA Information Tracking Application (ITA) weblink
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About the Author
Jon Elliott is President of Touchstone Environmental and has been a major contributor to STP’s product range for over 25 years.
Mr. Elliott has a diverse educational background. In addition to his Juris Doctor (University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1981), he holds a Master of Public Policy (Goldman School of Public Policy [GSPP], UC Berkeley, 1980), and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Princeton University, 1977).
Mr. Elliott is active in professional and community organizations. In addition, he is a past chairman of the Board of Directors of the GSPP Alumni Association, and past member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California's Environmental Law Section (including past chair of its Legislative Committee).
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