As an employer, you need to be aware of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) record-keeping rules. In addition to being fairly complex to begin with, OSHA rules have recently changed. The good news is that you can keep up with your record keeping related to OSHA by using good document management software (DMS), but first you have to understand what to report, what to record, and whether you fall under OSHA’s reporting requirements.
What to Report to OSHA
OSHA keeps vast documentations on all types of work-related incidents. How the incident is reported partly depends on the severity.
As an employer, you have to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours directly to OSHA. Work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye must be reported within 24 hours. You can use OSHA’s free and confidential number at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) to report these incidents, but you can also call your closest area office during normal business hours. Soon there will be an opportunity for you to fill out an online form about these incidents, but until that gets released you’re required to make the call.
What You Have to Record
Under OSHA, all covered employers must record the following incidents:
- All work-related fatalities
- Injuries and illnesses that result in days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job
- Loss of consciousness
- Medical treatment beyond first aid
- Work-related injuries or illnesses diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional
- Injury cases, such as a cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation
- Illnesses both chronic and acute, including skin disease, respiratory disorder, and poisoning
Under OSHA, work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities are those in which an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the condition. If a preexisting condition was significantly aggravated, it is also considered work-related.
Who Needs to Report
All employers must report to OSHA unless they’re exempt under the 2 following conditions:
- Establishments of companies with 10 or fewer employees at all times in the previous year continue to be exempt from keeping OSHA injury and illness records, regardless of their industry classification. The partial exemption for size is based on the number of employees in the entire company. That means a branch of 5 employees would not be exempt if the number of employees in the entire organization exceeds 10.
- Establishments in certain low-hazard industries are also partially exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records.
Changes to the Rules
OSHA has released a new list of industries that will be partially exempt from keeping these OSHA records. How this applies to your company depends on the state you’re operating in. Some states have their own safety and health programs, and they may not have to implement the new requirements yet. Any states under Federal OSHA jurisdiction must comply as of January 1, 2015.
Traditionally, businesses in retail trade, finance, insurance, and real estate have been exempt from record-keeping rules. But since the new rules are more stringent, it’s a good idea to verify if your company falls under the list of low-hazard industries exempt from record keeping.
If you fall under OSHA record-keeping regulations, then you’ll be dealing with these types of record-keeping forms:
- OSHA Form 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
- OSHA Form 300A: Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
- OSHA Form 301: Injury and Illness Incident Report
Form 301 has to be filled out only if a recordable incident has occurred, but Form 300A must be filed annually even if no recordable work-related injury or illness has occurred during that year. In order to certify the annual summary report, the responsible person at your company is required to examine the OSHA 300 Log and verify that the information reported is accurate and complete.
There is one way to potentially decrease the amount of paperwork you have to submit: if you already fill out insurance forms with the same information required by OSHA forms, then you may be able to submit those in their place.
Using eFileCabinet to Keep Up with OSHA
Keeping up with OSHA requirements can be difficult if you don’t have appropriate procedures in place. Fortunately, record keeping is easy when you use eFileCabinet’s document management software.
eFileCabinet is easy to use and allows you to record information centrally, even if your company has many different offices and locations. You can upload and save additional documentation for each incident report if applicable, which helps you fully document health and safety incidences for later referencing. When you’re looking for a particular record, you can use our full-text search function to find it quickly.
While OSHA requires you to keep workplace incident records, you don’t have to store that information forever. eFileCabinet allows you to set document retention rules and archive your files on a predetermined, automatically scheduled basis. To give eFileCabinet a try, fill out the information on this page and start your free demo.