The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that roughly 4 to 6 thousand workplace fatalities and between 3.9 and 4.5 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses occur each year.
In 1970, Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act as a means to protect workers from known hazards in the workplace. The OSH Act compelled employers to prepare and maintain records related to occupational injuries and illnesses. Recordkeeping was implemented as a way to track various accidents or illnesses occurring in a particular workplace or industry. Data from these records is used by OSHA to implement further regulations or target inspections to correct problem areas.
In 2001, OSHA updated the standard (29 CFR 1904) to simplify the reporting rules and forms and bring about greater accountability for injury and illness recordkeeping. Employers covered by the regulation, generally those with more than 10 employees, are required to:
- Notify OSHA of work-related incidents that result in employee deaths or inpatient hospitalization of 3 or more employees, within 8 hours after they occur
- Provide injury and illness records within 4 business hours of request by an OSHA representative
- Fill out required OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping forms within 7 days of a recordable incident
- Annually post, from February 1–April 30, a summary (OSHA Form 300A) of all workplace injuries and illnesses, and make the form clearly visible to employees and new applicants
Managing this process on paper is costly and cumbersome, and often the information is difficult to find by sifting through file cabinets, spreadsheets, etc.
Employers who fail to maintain up-to-date and accurate records may find themselves facing citation and fines. What’s more, however, organizations have recognized that the actual costs from lost work days and productivity is substantially higher – thanks to increased workers’ compensation claims, potential liability, downtime and internal disruption, negative press, or worse, lost revenues. Therefore, it is critical that organizations implement a solution to ensure compliance with the OSHA recordkeeping mandate.