Employers have many obligations when it comes to workplace safety. In addition to maintaining a safe workplace and purchasing workers' compensation insurance for their employees, employers must also follow OSHA rules when it comes to reporting injuries.
Our Greenville work injury lawyers urge all employers to ensure that they understand and follow the OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting requirements. OSHA mandates that serious work injuries and occupational illnesses must be reported and that employers must keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses. The recorded information helps OSHA to track work injuries and identify dangerous worksites.
OSHA Reporting Requirements
OSHA provides information on reporting and record keeping in 29 CFR 1904. According to this regulation, covered employees must use the OSHA 300 log in order to prepare and maintain records of any serious injuries.
Employers who have ten or more employees who are not exempted under OSHA regulations must not only use the OSHA 300 log but must also detail injuries and illnesses using Forms 300A and 201. Illnesses and injuries that must be recorded include:
- All work-related fatalities. Workplace deaths must also be orally reported to OSHA within eight hours of the death occurring, provided the employer is covered by the OSH Act.
- All work-related injuries and illnesses that cause a worker to miss work or that necessitate a worker being transferred to a different job or restricted in the work performed.
- All significant work-related injuries and illnesses that are diagnosed by a physician or a licensed health professional. Any illnesses or injuries that require treatment beyond basic first aid should be reported.
- Chronic and acute illnesses including skin diseases; respiratory problems and poisoning that result from exposure to toxins in the workplace.
OSHA mandates that records of these and other workplace injuries be kept any time the workers' health problems are "work-related." OSHA defines work-related injuries, illnesses or fatalities as any condition that was caused by doing work, or that the work environment contributed to in any way.
Reporting and record-keeping requirements also mandate that employers take note of when a pre-existing injury or illness has been made worse as a result of work duties. For example, if someone who was already suffering back problems hurt his or her back more severely at work, then the worsening of the original back injury could be considered a work-related problem and the injury would need to be recorded.
OSHA uses the records and reports produced in order to analyze hazards within an industry; in order to draft and implement worker protection regulations to reduce or eliminate hazards; and in order to evaluate workplace safety.
Employers who are required to complete Form 300 must also complete and post Form 300A in the workplace each year from February 1- April 30. Form 300A is a summary of work-related illnesses and injuries that occurred. Employees and/or their representatives have a right to see this annual posted summary so they can better understand the hazards and safety conditions in the workplace.