Workplace safety is a primary concern for all parties within an organization. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established guidelines for recording, reporting, and submitting incidents to provide a safer working environment and healthful working conditions.
What is an OSHA Recordable Incident?
OSHA recordable incidents refer to work-related injuries and illnesses that meet specific criteria, requiring employers to fill out and maintain detailed records of incidents. These records help employers track workplace safety trends and identify areas for improvement.
Which employers are required to keep these records? Any employer covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 170 with 11 or more employees must maintain OSHA injury and illness records.
Employers with 10 or fewer employees, and considered a low-hazard industry, are partially exempt. Too, not all employers are covered by federal OSHA regulations. Some states operate under an OSHA-approved State Plan.
It is crucial to understand which incidents are recordable to comply with OSHA regulations accurately.
OSHA Recordable vs Reportable Incidents
While recording and reporting may seem one and the same, they represent different aspects of OSHA compliance:
OSHA Recording Requirements
OSHA recordkeeping involves documenting work-related injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 Injury & Illness Recordkeeping Forms. Employers must use these forms to record details such as the nature of the incident, the injured employee’s name, the date of the event, and the number of days away from work, when applicable. Records must be kept for five years and made available for inspection.
OSHA Reporting Requirements
OSHA reporting involves notifying OSHA directly of certain severe incidents within a specific time frame. Employers must report fatalities within 8 hours and in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or loss of an eye within 24 hours. Reporting can be done through OSHA’s online portal or by phone to the nearest OSHA Area Office.
What Makes an Incident Recordable?
Not every injury or illness qualifies as an OSHA recordable incident. Understanding the criteria for recordability is essential to ensure compliance. Generally, an incident is recordable if it results in:
- Loss of consciousness
- Day(s) away from work
- Restricted work activity or job transfer
- Diagnosis of cancer or chronic irreversible diseases
- Punctured eardrum
- Fractured or cracked bones
- Medical treatment beyond first aid
OSHA has a precise definition of the use of first aid. Here are some of the ways they define it:
- Using a non-prescription medication at non-prescription strength
- Administering tetanus immunizations
- Using wound coverings like bandages, gauze pads, butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips
- Using hot or cold therapy
- Using eye patches
- Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress
Importance of Accurate Recordkeeping in Safety
Accurate and detailed recordkeeping is crucial for several reasons:
Employee Safety: Effective and efficient recordkeeping helps prioritize employee safety by addressing potential risks promptly and effectively.
Identifying Trends: OSHA recordkeeping allows employers to identify recurring safety issues or hazard-prone areas and implement appropriate corrective actions.
Compliance & Legal Requirements: Employers who fail to maintain accurate records or misclassify incidents may face penalties and fines from OSHA.
Understanding the difference between recording and reporting OSHA-recordable incidents is vital for maintaining a safe work environment and complying with OSHA regulations. Accurate recordkeeping enables employers to identify trends, improve workplace safety, and protect employees.
Important Update: New OSHA Regulation
OSHA released a revised electronic record keeping regulation, “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.” This revision reinstates the requirement for many employers to submit certain injury and illness information directly to OSHA every year and should take effect January 1, 2024.
Employers with “high risk” industries with 100 or more employees at one establishment must electronically provide certain information on their OSHA 300 and 301 forms. OSHA will require establishments to include their company name when making submissions and intends to make the data available to the public and searchable online.
Axiom Medical: Your Guide to Better OSHA Recordable Outcomes
Need help with injury and illness reporting? Let Axiom Medical help!
Our nurse case managers are OSHA-trained and educated on the standards and safety regulations, assisting employers prevent and minimize lost time, loss of productivity, and better recordable outcomes.
We handle 70% of cases in-house at the first aid level and use a consistent process for reporting and managing workplace injuries.
Charli Pedersen works for Axiom Medical as their Content Marketing Specialist. She has her bachelor’s degree in English, Professional and Technical Writing and previous experience with creating content for businesses and non-profit organizations.