Keeping Records for OSHA | DCR Workforce Blog

Keeping Records for OSHA

OSHAAlso known as the OSHA 300 Log, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires companies to record and maintain data on workplace injuries and illnesses for five years. Certain serious injuries must be reported to OSHA within a short period of time of their occurrence. Last month, OSHA issued revisions to the existing recordkeeping standard, significantly expanding the reach of the recordkeeping rule. The rule also places further burdens on employers to report workplace injuries and illnesses. These changes become effective on January 1, 2015. Organizations need to review their processes and be prepared to comply.

What is Your NAICS Code?

Up till now, the Standard Industrial Classification system determined which employers would be required to track work-related injuries. The new OSHA rule now bases this decision on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), bringing previously exempted employers under its coverage. New industries include automobile dealers; sellers of automotive parts, accessories and tires; bakers; real estate lessors; facilities support services; beer, wine and liquor stores; machinery and equipment rental and leasing; direct sales; performing arts, amusement and recreation services, and museums. Unless exempted, employers with more than 10 employees are required to create 3 types of records – a log, a form and an annual summary – of work-related injuries.

Employers should check their exemption status using the NAICS code to determine if they fall under the new requirements. If yes, then, it is time to know what one’s duties are under the revised OSH Act.

Requirements under OSHA:

  • If your NAICS code is included, your next step would be to verify if you are covered under the new recordkeeping rule by virtue of having 10 employees or more.
  • Earlier, if a work-related incident resulted in the hospitalization of three or more workers, or in the death of a worker, the employer was required to report the incident within 24 hours in case of hospitalization and 8 hours after its occurrence in case death. This regulation applied to all employers, even if they had less than 10 employees. These requirements have been extended to incidents where a worker loses an eye or requires an amputation.

What makes this seemingly simple requirement incredibly hard is deciding the nature and scope of an illness, its work-relatedness, and the employee’s required time off for the injury/illness. Every injury will not offer a clear categorization. For example, if an employee is injured in the parking lot in a minor accident, or a scuffle with someone who is not a co-worker, do these events require reporting to OSHA? This confusion coupled with the wish to avoid being under OSHA scrutiny make it very difficult for employers to determine what they need to report (or not report) without being issued a citation. Determining whether to report an illness or injury requires an analysis of incomplete and even conflicting evidence, the veracity of which may be contested by the employee and vice versa. So, even for non-work related injuries, it would be necessary for employers to create supporting documentation should either the employee or OSHA happen to challenge that classification.

When worksites employ multi-employer workers, employers must remember their obligation to comply with the occupational safety and health standards developed by OSHA with respect to all employees. This includes contingent workers who happen to have a different employer under common law. Employers must ensure that they do not expose workers to hazardous conditions or endanger their safety. As controlling employers, they need to provide a safe working environment by virtue of exercising their supervisory authority to set processes conducive to safety.

Any failure to do so will result in extensive documentation and recordkeeping to meet OSHA requirements, and the repercussions that follow inevitably on its heels.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.