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OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extensive recordkeeping and reporting rules in place designed to help employers recognize workplace hazards and correct dangerous conditions by keeping detailed track of work-related injuries and illnesses and their causes.

Since 1971, OSHA has required that most businesses keep these records. The reporting requirements are spelled out in Part 1904 of OSHA’s regulations. They are written in plain language and are meant to be easy to follow. Even so, the rules can be confusing because they are updated frequently and sometimes involve making judgment calls.

What OSHA Recordkeeping Paperwork is Required?

OSHA requires that most employers record injuries and illnesses on three specific forms:

  • OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries, and Illnesses
  • OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
  • OSHA Form 301, Injury, and Illness Incident Report

An employer is required to enter each case on the OSHA 300 Log and OSHA 301 Form within seven calendar days of receiving notice that a recordable illness or injury occurred. The company is required to post the Annual Summary (Form 300A) no later than February 1 of the year following the period of record.

Who Must Keep OSHA Injury Records?

According to OSHA, all employers are covered by Part 1904 rules. Then, again, some employers don’t have to keep certain records, such as filling out OSHA Forms 300 and 300A. Specifically, any employer with less than eleven workers (at all locations) is partially exempt from some recordkeeping requirements. If an employer has ten employees and then hires one temporary employee for just a day, they have gone over the threshold and must comply with OSHA’s reporting requirements for the remainder of the year.

Some businesses in low-hazard industries are also exempt from keeping OSHA injury and illness records unless specifically asked to do so by the agency. A few of these exempt industries include clothing stores, florists, schools, travel agencies, and financial services companies.

OSHA requires all employers, regardless of size or industry, to report work-related amputations, losses of an eye, hospitalizations, and fatalities. Fatalities must be reported within eight hours of learning about the incident or finding out that it was work-related. In other cases, the time limit is 24 hours.

But there are some exceptions here as well. An employer doesn’t have to report a fatality or serious injury if:

  • The worker passed away more than 30 days after the work-related injury or the amputation, hospitalization, or loss of an eye happened more than 24 hours after the incident;
  • The accident resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a highway or public street; or
  • The event occurred on a public or commercial transportation system.

What is Considered a Recordable Injury or Illness by OSHA?

Not all illnesses and injuries in the workplace are recordable. To be recordable according to OSHA, an illness or injury must meet the following conditions:

  • It is new.
  • It is work-related.
  • It results in one or more recording criteria.

It’s generally simple enough to figure out if a case is new. If the employee had never experienced the illness or injury before or had recovered completely from a prior injury, a new event would likely qualify.

Figuring out if an illness or injury is work-related can be more challenging. Under OSHA’s rules, work-relatedness is presumed for exposures or events in the workplace unless it meets the criteria for specific exceptions. Some examples of exceptions include: the employee was involved in personal tasks, the injury resulted from a non-work-related event, or the illness is the common cold or flu. OSHA has also determined that COVID-19 is NOT the common cold or flu, so it could be considered a recordable illness if the workplace was a “discernable cause.”

Finally, a work-related illness or injury is recordable if it meets one more recording criteria. These are:

  • Medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Days away from work
  • Restricted work or transfer to another position
  • Death

Your Rights As an Injured Worker

Whether or not your employer must report to OSHA, you have rights if you have become sick or injured through the course of your employment. Not only should you report any on-the-job injuries to your employer promptly, but you should also seek immediate medical care.

OSHA regulations can be complex, and workers’ rights related to compensation and freedom from retaliation are equally complicated. If you’ve been injured at work, an experienced workplace injury attorney can help explain and protect your right to recovery.

At OSHA Injury Attorney, we take pride in fiercely protecting the interests of workers just like yourself. If you’ve been injured and have questions about your rights, we can help.