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OSHA Records That Must Be Kept

Employers covered by OSHA record keeping requirements must maintain the following records:

OSHA Form 300 & 300A: ‘Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses’.  Employers subject to the OSH Act’s recordkeeping requirements must compile and post at each of their establishments an annual log and summary of all ” recordable occupational injuries and illnesses” (defined below) for that establishment.  The log must be kept on OSHA Form 300 or an equivalent form that is as readable as the OSHA form (29CFR& 1904.2(a)).

An employer must enter each and every “recordable” occupational injury or illness within six working days after notification of the injury or illness.

Logs must be kept on a calendar year basis - January 1 to December 31 (29CFR&1904;.3)

OSHA Form 301: ‘Supplementary Record of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.’  In addition to the log and summary of injuries and illnesses, employers must also maintain at each establishment an OSHA Form 301, a supplementary record for each occupational injury and illness recorded on the log and summary at that establishment.  This record must be available for inspection within six working days after notification of the injury or illness (29CFR&1904;.4). 

The employer may record the required facts on OSHA form 301 or a form requesting similar information. Required information on the 301 form includes:

  • the employer’s name, mailing address, and location if different from the mailing address;
  • the injured employee’s name, social security number, home address, age, sex, occupation, and department;
  • the place of the accident or exposure, whether it was on the employer’s premises, what the employee was doing when injured, and how the accident occurred;
  • a description of the illness or injury, including the part of the body affected, the name of the object or substance that directly injured the employee, and the date of the injury or diagnosis of illness;
  • the name and address of attending physician and the name and address of any hospital used; and
  • the date of the report and the name and position of the person preparing the report.

The OSHA Form is optional: Workers’ compensation, insurance, or other similar reports are acceptable if they contain all the information required by OSHA Form 301 or if the missing information is added (29 CFR& 1904.4).

CAUTION: OSHA record keeping and reporting requirements differ from those established by various state workers’ compensation laws.  Employers using a state workers’ comp form as a substitution for OSHA Form 301 must prepare a form for each OSHA recordable case whether or not state workers’ comp law requires preparation of the report.

‘Recordable illness and injuries.’ “Recordable occupational injuries or illnesses include:

  • Fatalities, regardless of the time between injury and death or length of illness.
  • Lost-workday cases other than fatalities, that results in lost workdays - when the injured or ill employee experience either days away from work, days of restricted work activity, or both.
  • Nonfatal cases without lost workdays that result in transfer to another job or termination of employment, or require medical treatment (other than first aid) or involve loss of consciousness or restriction of work or motion.  Also included: any diagnosed occupational illnesses reported to the employer but not classified as fatalities or lost workday cases (29 CFR& 1904.12 (c)).

Minor injuries requiring only first - aid are not recordable.

Annual Statistical Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.  If an employer is selected to participate in the annual statistical survey, the employer will receive (near the beginning of the year) a special form requesting injury and illness data.  Even if covered by a state plan, the employer must complete this form and mail it as directed (29 CFR& 1904.22).  Even employers with fewer than 11 employees are required to complete this form if they are selected for the survey (29 CFR& 1904.17 (c)).

Recordkeeping requirements of substantive OSHA standards.  In many cases OSHA standards set their own recordkeeping, record retention, and record access provisions.  For example, the Air Contaminant Standard requires air monitoring and records of levels of air contaminants, and several construction standards require employers to keep records of operation design and testing.  Be sure to check all applicable OSHA standards for restrictions.

OSHA notes that neither media coverage nor reports to insurance carriers or others constitutes reporting to the agency as required under the regulation.  Use of a fax also does not fulfill the employer’s obligation under the regulation, which is intended to provide OSHA with prompt notification; a fax could go unread for hours or even days.  As a practical matter, however, employers may, in addition to making the required verbal report, fax, mail, or hand deliver the information to OSHA as a back up procedure if concerned about creating a record to demonstrate compliance.

Rule extends for 30 days.  Whether or not an accident is immediately reportable, if it results in the death of an employee or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees within 30 days of the incident, OSHA requires that the employer report the fatality/multiple hospitalization within eight hours after learning of it.

When employer is unaware of incident.  The regulation provides an exception if the employer does not learn of the reportable incident at the time it occurs.  In that situation, the employer must make the report within eight hours of the time the incident is reported to any agent or employee of the employer.

Toxic Exposure.  Both the DOL and HHS can require employers to measure and record employees’ exposure to potentially toxic materials, dangerous substances, or harmful physical agents.  Employers may have to make reports to HHS based on these records.

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