OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting

OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting


Compliance Notice – OSHA Issues New Data Collection Ruling and Reporting / Retaliation Provisions



Did you scramble to complete your OSHA Form 300 (or OSHA 300 Log) for posting on February 1st last year? This needn’t be the case for 2019. Implementing a practice where you record incidents routinely or as an added step in addressing a work-related injury or illness will make this task easy, ensuring you’re ready to comply with reporting requirements on time.

It is important to point out that new regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding employer recordkeeping and reporting went into effect on August 10, 2016. Here are some highlights of the requirements under the new regulations.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers with more than 10 employees to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Certain low-risk industries are exempted from this requirement. Covered employers are required to use OSHA Form 300, Log of Injuries and Illnesses, to document reportable injuries and illnesses that occurin the workplace. Minor injuries requiring only first aid need not be recorded.

OSHA defines a recordable injury or illness as:

  • Any work-related fatality.
  • Any work-related injury or illness that results in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job.
  • Any work-related injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid.
  • Any work-related diagnosed case of cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones or teeth, and punctured eardrums.

Note that there are also special recording criteria for work-related cases involving: needlesticks and sharps injuriesmedical removalhearing loss, and tuberculosis.

First aid means any of the following:

  • Using a nonprescription medication at nonprescription strength (for medications available in both prescription and nonprescription form, a recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional to use a nonprescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes).
  • Administering tetanus immunizations (other immunizations, such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine, are considered medical treatment).
  • Cleaning, flushing, or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin.
  • Using wound coverings such as bandages, Band-Aids™, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips™ (other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc., are considered medical treatment).
  • Using hot or cold therapy.
  • Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes).
  • Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.).
  • Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister.
  • Using eye patches.
  • Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab.
  • Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means.
  • Using finger guards.
  • Using massages (physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes).
  • Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress.

The OSHA 300 Log provides tracking of where and when the injuries and illnesses occur, the nature of the case, the name and job title of the employee injured or made sick, and the number of days absent from work or on restricted or light duty. The summary of this form (OSHA Form 300A) must be completed annually and posted in an area for employees to view from February 1st through April 30th. This summary is a compilation of data from the OSHA Form 300.

The log and summary must be kept for five years following the year of record. For example, 2018 incidents must be recorded and posted from February 1, 2019 to April 30, 2019 and the documents must be kept until January, 2024.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule that aims to modernize injury data collection in an effort to better inform workers, employers, the public, and OSHA about hazards in the workplace. OSHA is applying the insights of behavioral economics to improve workplace safety and prevent injuries and illnesses.

OSHA requires many employers to keep records of workplace injuries, illnesses and accidents in order to identify workplace hazards and prevent incidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 3 million workers suffer some sort of workplace accident each year; however, little or no information about these incidents is shared with OSHA or made public.

Employers in high-hazard industries will now be required to send required incident information directly to OSHA to be made public on their website. Certain employers will have to electronically submit injury and illness data. The rule also prohibits employers from discouraging employees from making injury and illness reports. These new changes go into effect November 1, 2016.


Employers should become familiar with the new updates for reporting workplace incidents. As of November 1, the new rule will make workplace incidents public as a means to encourage employers to prevent hazards that cause injury and illnesses. The new reporting requirements will publicly demonstrate how safe and well managed an employer’s facilities are.

Access to injury data will also help OSHA target compliance assistance and enforcement resources where workers are at greatest risk.  While this rule does not change an employer’s obligation to complete and retain injury and illness records under the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation, it is important to understand that incidents may now be made public. Availability of this data will enable prospective employees to identify workplaces where the risk of injury is lowest and encourage employers to make injury prevention a high priority.

Other Changes

The new rule now promotes an employee’s right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation from the employer. This is an attempt to keep the data on OSHA logs as complete and accurate as possible.  Employers will be required to have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting incidents.

OSHA plans to create the largest publicly available data set of workplace injuries and illnesses, enabling researchers to study it to reveal injury causation, identify workplace safety hazards and the effectiveness of injury prevention methods.  OSHA plans to remove personally identifiable information included in the data before making it publicly accessible.

Annual Reporting

Effective January 1, 2017, OSHA will require certain employers to electronically submit their summary of injuries and illnesses to OSHA. The new electronic reporting requirements are phased in over two years:

  • Establishments with 20 – 249 employees in certain high-risk industries must submit information from their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018, and their 2018 Form 300A by March 2, 2019 and every year thereafter.

OSHA state plans must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the above requirements.

OSHA currently has a secure website for employers to use to electronically submit their summary of injuries and illnesses. The website provides several options for transferring the data.

Severe Injury Reporting

Don’t forget that employers are required to report any worker fatality within eight hours and any amputation, loss of an eye, or hospitalization of a worker within 24 hours. To report a severe injury, an employer may:

  • Call the nearest OSHA office.
  • Call the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).
  • Report online.

When calling, employers should be prepared to provide:

  • The business name.
  • The names of employees affected.
  • The location and time of the incident.
  • A brief description of the incident.
  • The name and phone number for a point of contact.


In order to ensure compliance with OSHA’s new reporting and record keeping requirements, employers should:

  • Review the new regulations to see how they are affected by the new reporting requirements.
  • Review any policies and procedures regarding the reporting of workplace injuries by employees to ensure they do not violate the provisions prohibiting retaliation.
  • Ensure supervisors and managers are trained as to the new electronic reporting requirements, procedures for reporting workplace injuries, and how to identify and avoid conduct that may be seen as retaliatory.
  • Verify that they have the latest Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law poster displayed.

OSHA has created a web page regarding the new regulations that contain a fact sheet and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

For compliance assistance, please contact Ryan Wilson at (800) 296-5722 x3740 or [email protected].

February 2019

While every effort has been taken in compiling this information to ensure that its contents are totally accurate, neither the publisher nor the author can accept liability for any inaccuracies or changed circumstances of any information contained herein or for the consequences of any reliance placed upon it. This publication is distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice or services. Readers should always seek professional advice before entering into any commitments.