Friday, February 24, 2012

Do I need to fill out the OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses?

Employers now have a new system for tracking workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA's new recordkeeping log is easier to understand and to use. Written in plain language using a question and answer format, the revised recordkeeping rule answers questions about recording occupational injuries and illnesses and explains how to classify particular cases. Flowcharts and checklists make it easier to follow the recordkeeping requirements.

What has changed?

The new rule:
  • Offers flexibility by letting employers computerize injury and illness records;

  • Updates three recordkeeping forms:

    • OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses); simplified and reformatted to fit legal size paper. [300 Log Available Here]

    • OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report); includes more data about how the injury or illness occurred.

  • OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses); separate form created to make it easier to calculate incidence rates;

  • Continues to exempt smaller employers (employers with 10 or fewer employees) from most requirements;

  • Changes the exemptions for employers in service and retail industries;

  • Clarifies the definition of workrelationship, limiting the recording of pre-existing cases and adding new exceptions for some categories of injury and illness;

  • Includes new definitions of medical treatment, first aid, and restricted work to simplify recording decisions;

  • Eliminates different criteria for recording work-related injuries and work-related illnesses; one set of criteria will be used for both;

  • Changes the recording of needlestick injuries and tuberculosis;

  • Simplifies the counting of days away from work, restricted days and job transfer;

  • Improves employee involvement and provides employees and their representatives with access to the information; and

  • Protects privacy for injured and ill workers.
Simplified, clearer definitions also make it easier for employers to determine which cases must be recorded. Posting an annual summary of workplace injuries and illnesses for a longer period of time improves employee access to information, and as employees learn how to report workplace injuries and illnesses, their involvement and participation increase.

Which recordkeeping requirements apply to me?

Reporting fatalities and catastrophes: All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (P.L. 91-596) must report to OSHA any workplace incident resulting in a fatality or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees within 8 hours. Keeping injury and illness records: If you had 10 or fewer employees during all of the last calendar year or your business is classified in a specific low-hazard retail, service, finance, insurance, or real estate industry, you do not have to keep injury and illness records unless the Bureau of Labor Statistics or OSHA informs you in writing that you must do so.

How can I tell if I am exempt?

OSHA uses the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code to determine which establishments must keep records. You can search for SIC Codes by keywords or by four-digit SIC to retrieve descriptive information of specific SICs in OSHA's online North American Industry Classification System Search, available on OSHA's website at: http://www.osha.gov/oshstats/naics-manual.html. Establishments classified in the following SICs are exempt from most of the recordkeeping requirements, regardless of size:

525 Hardware Stores
542 Meat and Fish Markets
544 Candy, Nut, and Confectionary Stores
545 Dairy Products Stores
546 Retail Bakeries
549 Miscellaneous Food Stores
551 New and Used Car Dealers
552 Used Car Dealers
554 Gasoline Service Stations
557 Motorcycle Dealers
56 Apparel and Accessory Stores
573 Radio, Television, and Computer Stores
58 Eating and Drinking Places
591 Drug Stores and Proprietary Stores
592 Liquor Stores
594 Miscellaneous Shopping Goods Stores
599 Retail Stores, Not Elsewhere Classified
60 Depository Institutions (Banks and Savings Institutions)
61 Nondepository Institutions (Credit Institutions)
62 Security and Commodity Brokers
63 Insurance Carriers
64 Insurance Agents, Brokers, and Services
653 Real Estate Agents and Managers
654 Title Abstract Offices
67 Holding and Other Investment Offices
722 Photographic Studios, Portrait
723 Beauty Shops
724 Barber Shops
725 Shoe Repair and Shoeshine Parlors
726 Funeral Service and Crematories
729 Miscellaneous Personal Services
731 Advertising Services
732 Credit Reporting and Collection Services
733 Mailing, Reproduction, and Stenographic Services
737 Computer and Data Processing Services
738 Miscellaneous Business Services
764 Reupholstery and Furniture Repair
78 Motion Picture
791 Dance Studios, Schools, and Halls
792 Producers, Orchestras, Entertainers
793 Bowling Centers
801 Offices and Clinics of Medical Doctors
802 Offices and Clinics of Dentists
803 Offices of Osteopathic Physicians
804 Offices of Other Health Practitioners
807 Medical and Dental Laboratories
809 Health and Allied Services, Not Elsewhere Classified
81 Legal Services
82 Educational Services (Schools, Colleges, Universities, and Libraries)
832 Individual and Family Services
835 Child Day Care Centers
839 Social Services, Not Elsewhere Classified
841 Museums and Art Galleries
86 Membership Organizations
87 Engineering, Accounting, Research, Management, and Related Services
899 Services, Not Elsewhere Classified
What do I have to do if I am not exempt?

Employers not exempt from OSHA's recordkeeping requirements must prepare and maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses. You need to review Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1904-"Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses," to see exactly which cases to record. * Use the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300) to list injuries and illnesses and track days away from work, restricted, or transferred. * Use the Injury and Illness Report (Form 301) to record supplementary information about recordable cases. You can use a workers' compensation or insurance form, if it contains the same information. * Use the Summary (Form 300A) to show totals for the year in each category. The summary is posted from February 1 to April 30 of each year.

What's so important about recordkeeping?

Recordkeeping is a critical part of an employer's safety and health efforts for several reasons:
  • Keeping track of work-related injuries and illnesses can help you prevent them in the future.

  • Using injury and illness data helps identify problem areas. The more you know, the better you can identify and correct hazardous workplace conditions.

  • You can better administer company safety and health programs with accurate records.

  • As employee awareness about injuries, illnesses, and hazards in the workplace improves, workers are more likely to follow safe work practices and report workplace hazards. OSHA compliance officers can rely on the data to help them properly identify and focus on injuries and illnesses in a particular area. The agency also asks about 80,000 establishments each year to report the data directly to OSHA, which uses the information as part of its site-specific inspection targeting program. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also uses injury and illness records as the source data for the Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses that shows safety and health trends nationwide and industrywide.