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OSHA Recordkeeping Requirements

Who must keep Records?

Employers must keep occupational injury and illness records unless exempted by OSHA.  The agency has carved out exemptions for small employers and for employers engaged in trades that the agency deems relatively safe.

OSHA requires employers of 11 or more employees in the following industries to keep records of occupational injuries and illnesses:

  • agriculture, forestry, and fishing (SICs 01-02; 07-09),
  • oil and gas extraction (SICs 13; 1477),
  • construction (SICs 15-17),
  • manufacturing (SICs 20-39),
  • transportation and public utilities (SICs 41-42; 44-49),
  • wholesale trade (SICs 50-51),
  • building materials and garden supplies (SIC 52),
  • general merchandise and food stores (SICs 53-54),
  • hotel and other lodging places (SIC 70),
  • repair services (SICs 75-76),
  • amusement and recreation services (SIC 79), and
  • health services (SIC 80) (OSHA, A Brief Guide to Recordkeeping, Requirements for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses).

Exemptions from certain record keeping requirements.  Low-hazard industries.  OSHA has exempted specific industries that the agency deems to be low hazard, like banks and insurance companies, from the duty to maintain OSHA records.

The exempt low-hazard industries are classified in Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC) 55-65, 72-73, 78, 81-84, 86, 88-89.  These industries include retail trade; bar and restaurants; financial; insurance, and real estate; personal and business services; motion pictures; legal, educational, and social services; museums, galleries, etc.; membership organizations; engineering, accounting, research, management, and related services; and private households (29 CFR&1904;.16).

Fewer than 10 employees.  Employers who have fewer than 10 full - or part-time employees at all times during the previous calendar year are exempt from OSH Act recordkeeping requirements. (29CFR&1904;.15).  If an employer has more than one establishment with combined employment of more than 10 employees, the employer must keep records for all individual establishments.

  • No Exemption for Reporting, Posting: Even if exempted from recordkeeping, an employer must display the OSHA poster and report to OSHA within 8 hours of any accident that results in one or more fatalities or the hospitalization of three or more employees.
  • No Exemption if Selected for Survey: Even if exempted from recordkeeping, an employer must maintain an OSHA form 300 if it is selected by OSHA to participate in OSHA’s statistical reporting program.
  • Interaction with Other Laws: Employers subject to injury and illness recordkeeping requirements of other federal safety and health regulations are not exempt from OSHA recordkeeping.  However, OSHA will allow use of records used for other recordkeeping obligations, as long as the forms contain the equivalent information.

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