What is OSHA's Recordkeeping Standard?
In 1970, the newly created OSH Act compelled employers to prepare and maintain records related to occupational injuries and illnesses. Officially called OSHA’s Recordkeeping Standard, you might know it by one of these other names, The Recordkeeping Rule, 29 CFR 1904 or the Incident Management Reg.
In 2001, OSHA updated the standard to simplify the reporting rules and forms and bring about greater accountability. While some businesses are partially exempt from the standard (e.g., those with 10 or less employees), there are three key forms most employers must contend with:
- Form 301 captures detailed information about workplace injuries and illnesses, such as descriptive explanations of the incident and the physician or health care professional’s contact information. Form 301 acts as your first injury report form.
- Form 300 acts as your LOG of incidents. It includes columns to classify work-related injuries and illnesses and notes the extent and severity of those items.
- Form 300A is essentially a numerical summary of incidents for a particular location. Employers must post this form annually from Feb 1- April 30 in a location clearly visible to employees and new applicants.
One of the trickiest aspects of complying with the OSHA Recordkeeping Standard is knowing what injuries and illnesses are recordable. A decision tree can help, but workplace incidents are rarely black and white. This is one area where a good electronic OSHA Recordkeeping system can provide great benefit.
These days OSHA is moving beyond injury and illness reporting and seeking a more proactive approach to addressing hazards. It’s also investigating the use of technology to get better information – faster. To that end, electronic filing of injury and illness recordkeeping data is on OSHA’s radar and could lead to the required annual submission of injury and illness data from all non-exempt businesses.