Closer OSHA scrutiny requires more careful accident recordkeeping

Due to unusually low incidence rates in traditionally high-rate industries, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) will be cracking down on recordkeeping violations in the coming months. On October 1, OSHA announced a national emphasis program (NEP) on recordkeeping to assess the accuracy of injury and illness data recorded by employers.

The underreporting of workplace injuries and illnesses is a serious issue, one which OSHA hopes to change through this program.

“Accurate and honest recordkeeping is vitally important to workers’ health and
safety,” said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab. “This
information is not only used by OSHA to determine which workplaces to inspect,
but it is an important tool employers and workers can use to identify health and
safety problems in their workplaces.”

Inspections will include a review of records, employee interviews and a safety and health inspection of the workplace. While the focus under the NEP will be on high-rate industries that OSHA suspects is underreporting incidents, all organizations should be on alert regarding their accident recordkeeping practices.

Are you confident your injury and illness records are in full OSHA compliance? OSHA requires you to record incidents on these three forms:

300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Log each recordable occupational injury or illness on this form within seven working days of learning about it.

301: Injury and Illness Incident Report. On this form, you describe each incident in greater detail. Fill it out within seven days of learning about an incident. An on-the-job injury or illness must be recorded if it results in any of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness. “Significant” injuries or illnesses, as diagnosed by a licensed health professional, also must be recorded, even if they don’t result in days away from work or any of the other conditions listed above.

300A: Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. This form, which summarizes the number and nature of on-the-job injuries and illnesses for a calendar year, must be posted in a conspicuous place by February 1 of the following year and remain on view through April 30. Although the 300A may not need to be posted for a few months yet, filling it out won’t be easy unless you’ve been keeping up to date with the other forms.

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