Keeping your business OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliant may feel daunting due to the detailed nature of the logs, but it’s time well spent. Most businesses are required by OSHA to fill out detailed logs when an employee is injured on the job; the injury reports must then be displayed in conspicuous areas in the workplace. From February 1st through April 30th the logs, known as OSHA Form 300 logs, from the previous year must also be displayed in a visible area where they can easily be viewed by employees. Some industries and business sizes may qualify from an exemption; we’ll go over the circumstances that qualify below.
Company Size and Industry
Businesses that have has more than 10 employees at any time during the year are expected to comply with OSHA’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements- even if you had 10 or fewer employees for 11 ½ months.
Traditional industries that were considered exempt include retail, insurance, finance, and real estate. As of 2015, however, OSHA changed its industry classification system to determine “low-hazard” exemption status based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). To find your company’s industry code, visit the NAICS site.
There is also a list of “partially exempt” industries, as well as a list of sectors that have been added since 2015 that are required to maintain injury and illness logs. If you’re unsure if your industry is one covered by OSHA, you can contact your local OSHA office to find out what category your industry falls into. Even if your business is exempt from federal reporting, you should still check with your state’s laws to determine if there are any state-mandated reporting or posting that you must comply with.
Basic Reporting Requirements
So, what do you need to know about tracking OSHA reports? The basic requirements involve three types of forms:
- Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses OSHA Form 300, which can be found on the OSHA website
- Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A)
- Injury and Illness Incident Report (OSHA Form 301)
Hopefully, you won’t have any work-related injuries or illnesses; if you don’t, you’ll still need to keep and post the log, even if it’s completely empty.
OSHA Form 300 logs can include details that you may not consider when it comes to injury and illness. You’re expected to log the number of days employees spent away from work or the number of days they worked with modified duties. Believe it or not, OSHA considers “modified duties” a work restriction, even if there have only been very minor changes to the employee’s duties.
Once you’ve completed the Form 300 logs, you should file them away, in case you must undergo an OSHA inspection in the future. You’ll want to have evidence that you’ve been properly maintaining the logs, or you may be subjected to penalties.
Serious Cases of Injury and Illness
All serious cases of injury or illness are required to be reported directly to OSHA as soon as possible. This can be done either by phone or using OSHA’s online form.
Serious cases have specific deadlines for reporting, which are as follows:
- All events must be logged within a week of occurrence
- Events involving inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or losing an eye must be reported within 24 hours
- Fatalities must be reported within eight hours
Common Reporting Errors To Avoid
There can be a lot of details that are easy to miss if you’ve never had to keep OSHA logs before. Some of the most common reporting errors that you should be aware of in the event your company’s records are inspected include:
- Failure to have a company executive certify that the data reported on the forms is accurate
- Not reporting medical treatment beyond basic first aid (which is exempt from reporting)
- Failing to include the employee’s description of the illness or injury they experienced
- Not reporting illnesses or injuries that involved temporary or contract workers
- Misclassification of illness as an injury. An example would be noise-induced hearing loss; due to having a cumulative effect over time, it would be classified as an illness, whereas an injury would be a single occurrence.
- Not reporting an illness or injury because it took your employee several days to notify you of it.
- Using work days rather than calendar days when reporting the number of days the employee was away from work or for days worked under restrictions due to their illness or injury
OSHA reporting is detailed and takes time to properly report incidents as required, but it benefits your company to follow the procedures laid out by the administration. Not only will it prevent your business from penalties, but the logs can be a good way to determine if there are any patterns of injury or illness within your workplace that can be better addressed through changes in policy or operations.