Remember that time when you were a kid and your Uncle Bob was off from work for a few months? He said he hurt himself on the job and was taking some time off. When you’re a kid you think ‘Wow, Uncle Bob is home, and he can play with me!’ You don’t think ‘Wow, Uncle Bob’s employer had better comply with OSHA reporting laws.’ Jokes aside, it is important to comply with OSHA practices, and not just because it is the law, but because it ensures that employers are aware of their work-related injuries and can take steps to reduce the risks of reoccurring injuries. We want to make sure Uncle Bobs everywhere can work in safe and secure environments.
What is OSHA?
Now that we’re all adults here, I think it safe to say you may have an idea of what OSHA is, and certainly if you are an employer you do. But what exactly is OSHA? Well OSHA itself, which stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is a large regulatory agency of the United States Department of Labor. That’s just a fancy way of saying that the government wants to ensure safe and healthy working conditions by setting and enforcing standards. One of those standards is that OSHA requires certain organizations to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Minor injuries requiring only first-aid do not need to be recorded and these records are electronically submitted.
What forms need to be submitted?
Which form you need depends on when you are reporting, as well as how big your company is. Companies with 250 or more employees are required to fill out a form for each incident that occurs. These forms can be found on the OSHA website here.
- OSHA form 300 (log of Work-Related injuries and Illnesses)- This form is used for ANNUAL reporting.
- OSHA form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for companies with 250 or more employees that are required to routinely keep injury and illness records – This form is used for EACH INCIDENT
- OSHA form 300A – (Summary of Work-Related Injury and Illnesses) this form is used for summarizing and publicly posting incident information- Due by March 2nd for the previous reporting year.
How does OSHA define a recordable injury or illness?
A recordable injury or illness is any injury or illness that requires medical treatment beyond first aid. These are work related fatalities, and any injuries or illness that impair or restrict work, require days off, or require transfer to another job. This includes any work-related cases of cancer, chronic disease, and broken or impaired body parts. There are also special recording criteria for work-related cases involving: needlesticks and sharps injuries; medical removal; hearing loss; and tuberculosis. You can find how OSHA defines first aid here.
Is there a place I can find information on all of my reportable injuries?
In most cases, you will have reported all of your reportable incidents to your workers compensation carrier. You should be able to request a copy of your loss history from your insurance agent or carrier. Your loss history will typically include a large portion of the information you need for your reportable log, including the employees name, the date of incident and an incident description. However, this loss history will often not include a log of how many days were missed due to an injury, nor do all carrier loss histories provide you with a comprehensive description of the claim. You should keep track of reportable incidents as they occur so you have the most clear and accurate information for your log, but it may be a good idea to cross reference the list with your loss history before submitting to ensure you are not missing any incidents.
What are severe injuries and how soon should employers report them?
A severe injury are fatalities, amputations, loss of an eye, and hospitalization. Fatalities should be reported within 8 hours and the rest should be reported within 24 hours. Knowing how to identify severe injuries is important as these injuries need to be reported, not recorded. All other injuries and illnesses that are work-related and require medical attention beyond first aid should be recorded.
In order to report a severe injury, the employer needs the following information:
- Name of the organization.
- Location of the work-related incident.
- Time of the incident.
- Type of incident (fatality, in-person hospitalization, amputation, loss of eye)
- Names and numbers who suffered the type of incident above.
- Your organization’s contact person and phone number.
- Brief description of the incident.
How should the employer maintain these records?
These records should be maintained at the worksite for at minimum of five years. Each February through April, employers must post a summary of the injuries and illnesses recorded the previous year. Also, if requested, copies of records must be provided to current former employees, or their representatives. Employers can find how to report in the State of Illinois here.
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