Injury and Illness Reporting / Recording

Who must record injuries/Illnesses?

      All industries in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transportation, utilities and wholesale trade sectors are covered. In the retail and service sectors, some industries are partially exempt Also employers with fewer than 10 employees are exempt. The size exemption is based on the company's peak employment during the last calendar year. If, at any time last year, the company reached 11 or more workers, the company is not size exempt. However, the company, or some of its individual establishments, may still be exempt because of industry classification.

Employers that are partially exempt from the recordkeeping requirements because of their size or industry must continue to comply with:

  • 1904.39, Reporting fatalities and multiple hospitalization incidents
  • 1904.41, Annual OSHA injury and illness survey (if specifically requested to do so by OSHA)
  • 1904.42, BLS Annual Survey (if specifically requested to do so by BLS)
  • 1904.30, Multiple Business Establishments

When the employer has more than one establishment, a separate log must be kept for each establishment expected to be in operation for more than a year. For the short term establishments (those expected to be in operation for less than a year), the employer may keep one log that includes all of the injuries and illnesses at the short term establishments, or keep logs by state or district.

An employer with multiple lines of business may have some exempt and some covered establishments, and each employee must be linked to an establishment for recordkeeping purposes 1904.31 - Covered Employees.

  • Employees on payroll
  • Employees not on payroll who are supervised on a day-to-day basis
  • Exclude self-employed and partners
  • Temporary help agencies should not record the cases
  • experienced by temp workers who are supervised by the using firm

When Do I need to report an injury?

Covered employers must record each fatality, injury or illness that:

  • Is work-related, and
  • Is a new case, and
  • Meets one or more of the criteria contained in sections 1904.7 through 1904.11.

Chart for Determining Workplace Reporting

A. Is the injury work related?

Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment unless an exception specifically applies.

A case is presumed work-related if, and only if, an event or exposure in the work environment is a discernable cause of the injury or illness or of a significant aggravation to a pre-existing condition.

  • The work environment is defined as the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or present as a condition of employment
  • The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by employees during the course of their work.
  • When employees are at the establishment, they are in the work environment. When employees are working away from the establishment, they carry a "bubble" of work environment wherever they go.

Work at Home - Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is working at home are work-related if they:

  • occur while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and
  • are directly related to the performance of work rather than the general home environment

Example: if an employee drops a box of work documents and injures her foot, the case would be considered work-related. If an employee's fingernail was punctured and became infected by a needle from a sewing machine used to perform garment work at home, the injury would be considered work-related.

Example: If an employee was injured because he tripped on the family dog while rushing to answer a work phone call, the case would not be considered work-related. If an employee working at home is electrocuted because of faulty home wiring, the injury would not be considered work-related.

Travel Status-An injury or illness that occurs while an employee is on travel status is work-related if the injury occurred while the employee was engaged in work activities in the interest of the employer.
Work-Related Exceptions

  • eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption
  • common colds and flu
  • voluntary participation in wellness or fitness programs
  • personal grooming or self-medication
  • Detour for personal reasons is not work-related
  • When an employee checks into a hotel or motel, he/she establishes a "home away from home." While they're in that "home away from home" status, cases that occur are not work-related. For example, if an employee slips in the hotel shower and is injured, the case is not work-related.

B. Is the injury or illness a new case?

Determination of a new case

Consider an injury or illness a "new case" if the employee has not previously experienced a recorded injury or illness of the same type that affects the same part of the body, OR the employee previously experienced a recorded injury or illness of the same type that affected the same part of body but had recovered completely (all signs and symptoms had disappeared) from the previous injury or illness and an event or exposure in the work environment caused the signs or symptoms to reappear.

A pre-existing injury or illness is significantly aggravated when an event or exposure in the work environment results in any of the following (which otherwise would not have occurred):

  • Death
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Days away, days restricted or job transfer
  • Medical treatment
There must be significant aggravation of a pre-existing injury or illness to establish work-relatedness. The workplace event or exposure must aggravate a pre-existing injury or illness enough that it results in greater consequences than what would have occurred but for that event or exposure. This means that the pre-existing condition requires more medical treatment than otherwise needed; more restrictions, more days away, etc.

C. Does the injury meet general recording criteria?

An injury or illness is recordable if it results in one or more of the following:

  • Death
  • Days away from work
  • Restricted work activity
  • Transfer to another job
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Significant injury or illness diagnosed by a PLHCP

1904.7(b)(3) - Days Away Cases

Cases that result in days away from work are recordable. The employer is to check the box for days away cases and count the number of days away. The day of the injury or illness is not counted as a day away. For days away or days restricted, count calendar days. Under this system, a special case arises when an employee is injured on a Friday or right before a vacation, and returns on the next scheduled day. If a PLHCP gives information that the employee should not have worked during those days off, then the days should be counted.

The employer may stop counting days when they reach 180 days away from work or days of restricted work or both. We then know that this was a serious case. The employer may also stop counting days if the employee leaves the company for some reason not related to the injury or illness - for example, a plant shutdown. If the employee is away from work for an extended time, the employer must record the case within 7 days with an estimate of the days away and then must update the day count when the actual number of days away or restricted becomes known.

1904.7(b)(4) - Restricted Work Cases

Cases that result in days of restricted work or job transfer are recordable. The employer is to check the box for restricted work cases and count the number of days restricted or transferred. The day of injury/illness is not counted as a day of restriction. A restriction that is limited only to the day of injury or illness does not make a case recordable.

Restricted work activity is evaluated by looking at two components: time and job functions. If, because of a work-related injury or illness, an employee is unable to work the full shift he or she was scheduled to work, then that worker is considered to be on restricted work activity. For example, if the employee was scheduled to work an 8-hour day, but is only able to work 4 hours, then his work activity is restricted.

If an employee is able to work a full shift, but is unable to perform all of his or her routine job functions, then the worker is also considered to be on restricted work activity. OSHA has defined routine job functions as work that an employee would regularly have performed at least once per week, because OSHA believes that the range of activities captured by this interval of time will generally reflect the range of an employee's usual work activities. Activities performed less frequently than once per week reflect more uncommon work activities that are not considered routine duties for the purposes of this rule.

OSHA's policy regarding preventive transfers is explained in the recordkeeping compliance directive (CPL 2-0.131). Under that policy, a case is not recordable under 1904.7(b)(4) as a restricted work case if three conditions are met:

  1. the employee experiences minor musculoskeletal discomfort,
  2. a health care professional determines that the employee is fully able to perform all or his or her routine job functions, and
  3. the employer assigns a work restriction to that employee for the purpose of preventing a more serious condition from developing.

1904.7(b)(4) - Job Transfer
Most job transfers involve some type of restriction. Even if they don't, job transfers due to an injury or illness are recordable events. If an injured or ill employee is transferred to another job for half days, this is also a job transfer. If a permanent job transfer is made immediately, that is, on the day of injury or illness, at least one day of restricted work activity must be recorded.

1904.7(b)(5) - Medical Treatment
Medical treatment is the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder. Medical treatment does not include visits to a PLHCP solely for observation and counseling, including follow-up visits. Medical treatment also does not include diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays, blood tests, or MRIs. Use of prescription medications for diagnostic purposes is also not considered medical treatment; for example, prescription eye drops used to dilate the pupils. Finally, medical treatment does not include first aid procedures.

1904.7(b)(6) - Loss of Consciousness
All work-related cases involving loss of consciousness must be recorded. The length of time the person is unconscious is irrelevant.

1904.7(b)(7) - Significant Diagnosed Injury or Illness
The following work-related conditions must always be recorded at the time of diagnosis by a PLHCP:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic irreversible disease
  • Punctured eardrum
  • Fractured or cracked bone or tooth

1904.8 - Bloodborne Pathogens
The rule requires the recording of all work-related needlesticks and cuts from contaminated sharp objects. This provision has the greatest effect on the health care sector, especially hospitals and nursing homes.

1904.9 - Medical Removal
Requires the employer to record cases where an employee is medically removed under an OSHA standard. Several OSHA standards have medical removal criteria, including the lead, cadmium, and benzene standards.

1904.10 - Hearing Loss
Employers must record work-related hearing loss cases when an employee's hearing test shows a marked decrease in overall hearing.

1904.11 - Tuberculosis
If an employee is exposed to an active case of tuberculosis at work, and then has a positive TB skin test or becomes an active case, then it must be recorded. How soon must I report injuries?

Employers must enter each recordable case on the forms within 7 calendar days of receiving information that a recordable case occurred Employers can keep their records on equivalent forms, on a computer, or at a central location provided that they can get information into the system within 7 calendar days after an injury or illness occurs, and they can produce the data at the establishment when required. Filling out the forms

OSHA's Form 300

     On the 300 Log, the employer checks one and only one of the outcome columns for each case, the one representing the most serious outcome of the case. If the status of the case changes, then the entry must be changed. For example, if the injured employee is experiencing days away from work, then dies, the employer must remove (or line out) the days away entry and the day count and check the box for a fatality. OSHA's Form 301

The 301 form captures data on each injury and illness (the length of service, what time the injury occurred, what time the employee started work, etc.). The questions about how the person was injured or became ill are identical to the BLS survey questions, which makes it easier for employers to complete the survey forms when they receive them. Many employers use a Worker's Compensation Report, a First Report of Injury or a Company Accident Report as an equivalent form, and they can continue to do this. They just need to make sure that their form includes all of the same data that is found on the 301 form or can be supplemented so that that data is attached to it. 4OSHA's 300A Form

There is a separate form for the summary, the 300A. This makes it easier to protect the privacy of injured or ill workers. The form asks for additional data on the average number of employees and hours worked to make it easier to calculate rates. Incidence rates are the best way to compare an establishment or an individual company's data to the Employee Privacy

  • Prohibits employers from entering an individual's name on Form 300 for certain types of injuries/illnesses
  • Provides employers the right not to describe the nature of sensitive injuries where the employee's identity would be known
  • Gives employee representatives access only to the portion of Form 301 which contains no personal information
  • Requires employers to remove employees names before providing the data to persons not provided access rights under the rule

1904.32 - Annual Summary
The annual summary requirements lay out a process for completing the end-of-year processing. The employer must first review the records and correct them if necessary, then complete the form, certify the form, and post it for 3 months. The form includes data on average employment and hours worked to make it easier to calculate incidence rates. The employer may estimate these figures using the optional worksheet provided in the forms package. The rule requires certification by a company executive to help improve management involvement in the records. A company executive is narrowly defined as:

  • an owner of the company,
  • an officer of the corporation
  • the highest ranking person at the establishment, or
  • his or her boss.
  • The records must be posted for 3 months.

1904.33 - Retention and Updating
Records must be retained for five years. During the retention period, the employer must update the 300 form to include any cases that are newly discovered or whose status has changed, but does not have to change the summary or the 301 form.

1904.35 - Employee Involvement
The rule requires each employer to set up a way for employees to report injuries and illnesses. Employers also must tell each employee how to report. This is a very basic step to make sure employees report cases so they can get into the records. Employers are also required to provide the records to employees. The 300 Log is available to employees, former employees, or employee representatives by the end of the next business day. An employee, former employee or personal representative is allowed to receive a copy of his or her own 301 form.

1904.36 - Prohibition Against Discrimination
The rule reminds employers about the anti-discrimination provisions of the OSH Act. Employers may not discriminate against an employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness case.

1904.39 - Fatality/Catastrophe Reporting
Employers must report fatality and catastrophe incidents to OSHA within 8 hours, verbally discussing the case with OSHA. The case can be called in to the local area office or phoned in to 1-800-321-OSHA.

1904.40 - Providing Records to Government Representatives
Employers must provide the records within 4 business hours of a request by an OSHA or NIOSH official. If an inspection is in Texas and the records are in New York, use the business hours of New York.