Businesses are required to keep two types of workers’ compensation (WC) records. The first is required by approved State Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) agencies and federal OSHA. The second is required by your WC insurance carrier. The details of both records are explained below.
OSHA Recordkeeping, 29 CFR 1904
State and federal OSHA require the following instances be entered on the OSHA 300 Log:
- Any injury or illness that involves treatment greater than first aid
- Any injury or illness that results in lost time
- Any injury or illness that requires modified duty/work restrictions
- Sharps injuries or blood and body fluid exposure (maintained in a confidential manner)
- Any injury or illness that results in permanent impairment
- Death from a work-related cause (you must also notify OSHA via phone in this instance)
NOTE: Other illnesses and injuries should not be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log.
OSHA now requires records to be submitted electronically, but some businesses are exempt from this requirement. Check OSHA.gov/Recordkeeping to determine the requirement for your business.
At the end of each calendar year, OSHA requires the accident and injury log to be summarized and posted in a central location within the workplace using OSHA form 300A. The posted summary must remain in place from February through April.
Insurance carriers generally require all events, including near misses, be reported to them. This ensures OSHA’s timeline for reporting injuries and illnesses is met. Late reporting can jeopardize an employee’s WC benefits. Furthermore, it can cast a shadow of doubt on a claim’s work-relatedness. If a claim involving only first aid is reported to the insurance carrier at the time of injury, but later worsens and requires treatment, the original date of the report of injury is used and ensures timely reporting.
Be Mindful About Your Records
It is very important to understand the difference in these reporting requirements. Recording every injury and near miss—even those that are not recordable under the law—on the OSHA 300 Log contributes to a higher injury rate. High injury rates prompt OSHA inspections, and inspections can result in fines.