Suppose an injury is severe enough to be hospitalized within 24 hours of work-related occurrence. In that case, you are required to report it to OSHA within 24 hours after concluding that the injury qualifies for direct reporting. In the event of COVID-19, you are required to register hospitalizations of work-related COVID-19 cases whenever the hospitalization takes place within twenty-four hours after the initial exposure to the virus.
OSHA must be informed about any fatalities at work within 30 days of the occurrence, no later than eight hours after the death has occurred. The same regulations apply when dealing with deaths caused by COVID-19. According to the new guidelines that will be effective in October 2020, you must report a worker’s death to OSHA if it occurs within 30 days after the worker’s exposure to the virus.
Injuries and illnesses that can be recorded must be entered into the Form 300 Log, including those reported directly to OSHA.
The OSHA 300 journal can contain only some illnesses or injuries on the job.
In general, you are only required to report sickness or injury if it involves any of the following:
- Loss of hearing due to work-related factors
- a state of having lost awareness
- Time off from work
- Work restrictions and a transfer
- Medical therapy
If, as a result of an accident, an employee needs medical care that is more extensive than first aid or must perform restricted and changed duties, then the incident must be recorded in the OSHA 300 log.
Instances that require simple first aid are not required to be recorded (nor are cases that do not have items from the list above).
What exactly is considered first aid? First aid is defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as “medical treatment that is often provided promptly after the accident occurs and at the area where it happened.” It is often a one-time, limited-duration therapy requiring very little specialized equipment or experience.
First aid would cover most small wounds, including cuts, scrapes, scratches, and mild burns, even if you needed a bandage or disinfectant to treat the injury. Examples of such damage include cuts, bruises, and scrapes. This is only one illustration: It is unnecessary to record an accident at work in which an employee suffers a cut to their thumb and requires medical attention. If someone were to cut their thumb and require stitches at the emergency room, this would be noted on the log.
OSHA considers a recordable injury to result in the need for medical care, time away from work, and restrictions on job duties or transfers.
The reported injuries and illnesses must also be connected to the worker’s occupation. OSHA defines the term “work connection” in a reasonably broad sense.
“You must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness,” states the definition of “work-relatedness” found in Standard Number 1904.5.
Understanding what does and does not count as a work-related injury is important because it means that if your employee has a pre-existing injury, and one of your processes doesn’t respect it, it could still go on your record if it is a “recordable injury.” This understanding is crucial because if your employee has a pre-existing injury and one of your processes doesn’t respect it, it could still go on your record. For instance, if you recruited an employee who already had a hernia and your work circumstances worsened, you are required to report the hernia even though it did not begin on your job site. This is true even if the hernia was caused by something else entirely.
In section 1904.5, a few notable deviations are stated (b). Under the following conditions, you don’t need to document the injury:
- If the employee was hurt while attending work as a public member but not while working, the worker is not entitled to workers’ compensation.
- If the injury or sickness involves symptoms that arise at work but are the consequence of anything unrelated to employment, then the worker is not entitled to workers compensation.
- If the employee’s voluntary participation in a wellness program contributed to the occurrence of the injury: (like a fitness exam, recreation activity, or a flu shot)
- If the employee’s sickness was brought on by eating or drinking something they had brought with them or had ordered,
- If an accident occurs when the employee is engaged in personal activities during work hours (at the business), the employer is not liable.
- If the harm was caused by the person (intentionally)
- In cases when it is determined that the patient has the flu or a cold
- If the ailment is a mental one (unless a licensed health care professional deems otherwise, e.g., PTSD derived from work)
- If the accident occurs on the access road or in the parking lot while the worker is commuting, the employer is not liable.
Even though the OSHA recordkeeping forms are accessible, businesses still make mistakes while filling them out, either because they did not obtain accurate information or because they were not paying attention to detail.
One of the most common mistakes people make is recording every event to avoid paying a fee. You are not required to keep a note of every sneeze, cough, or cut, nor should you do so. If you add too many non-recordable injuries to the log, your incidence rate will go up, resulting in more OSHA inspections and could cause your insurance costs to go up. If potential clients see that you need a better safety record, winning contracts might be complicated.
If you have concerns about documenting an occurrence and decide not to do so because of those concerns, you should enter your choice in good faith in case the incident is brought up later. A second frequent oversight is failing to record injuries sustained by temporary workers in the register. Temporary workers, sometimes known as temps, are frequently utilized by businesses in the manufacturing and construction industries. According to OSHA, if they work for you in any capacity, including “day-to-day supervision,” then a recordable injury must be logged on your 300 records. This applies even if they are not directly supervising anybody. Third, you are responsible for maintaining records for your different businesses. That implies that if you have three sites running simultaneously, you need three logs, one for each site individually.