By:  Kristin VanSoest

Thee rules regarding OSHA recordkeeping and recordables seem to be an ongoing headache and concern for companies.  The following is a “cheat sheet” of ways to get these questions answered:

Strict definitions of the OSHA 300 Log:

Work environment-establishment or other a condition of employment. (Basically, the injury has to be related to the current job).

Therefore no recording if:

  • Self-inflicted
  • During commute (parking lot)
  • Present as "general public"

General Rule:

  • What is First Aid?
  • Using a nonprescription medication at a nonprescription strength.
  • Administering tetanus immunizations
  • Cleaning, flushing, or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin.
  • Using wound coverings such as bandages, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips
  • Using Hot or Cold Therapy
  • Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc.
  • 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.
  • Real Life (hurt at work or play?)
  • Work or Home...You decide
  • Preexisting condition ...
  • No medical treatment required BEFORE the workplace exposure...
  • Restrictions that would not have happened except for work activities
  • Recording Injuries and Illnesses
  • You are not required to record injuries and illnesses if:
  • At the time of the injury or illness, the employee was present in the work environment as a member of the general public.
  • The injury or illness involves signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work related event or exposure that occurs outside of the work environment.
  • The injury or illness results solely from the voluntary participation in a wellness program or in medical, fitness, or recreational activity such as blood donation, physical examination, flu shot, exercise class, racquetball, or baseball
  • The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption.
  • The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee doing personal tasks at the establishment outside of the employees assigned working hours.
  • The injury or illness is solely the result of personal grooming, self medication for a non-work-related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted
  • The injury or illness is caused by a motor vehicle accident and occurs on a company parking lot or company access road while the employee is commuting to or from work
  • The illness is the common cold or flu
  • The illness is a mental illness. Mental illness will not be considered work-related unless the employee voluntarily provides the employer with an opinion from a physician or other licensed health care professional with appropriate training and experience stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work related.

OSHA's Basic Rule:

  • The DOCTOR's opinion counts most!
  • What if the employee is told to stay home and yet comes to work?
    • Employees must have a work release from their physician to come back to work. Always use the original doctor's statement, for example, if the doctor says the employee must miss 3 days of work, and he doesn't miss any because he continues to work, you count the 3 days on the log regardless. If an employee returns to work without being released, you may send that employee home.
  • How do you count LOST and RESTRICTED work days?
    • There is a cap at 180 days. If the restriction goes beyond that, you may stop counting. Always count calendar days.
  • Doctors are important to the record keeping process
  • Restricted work days are recorded.
  • You keep the employee away from scheduled work,
  • Doctor recommends an employee not perform a certain routine function,
  • Routine functions are tasks that employees do at least once per week

Significant changes from 200 to 300:

  • Changes regarding lost/restricted work
    • Change in terminology
      • Eliminates "lost workdays"
      • Focuses on "days away" or "days restricted or transferred"
    • Includes new regulations for counting days
    • Rely on calendar days instead of workdays
  • Changes to employer requirements
    • Employers must establish procedure for employees to report injuries and illnesses
    • Employers must tell employees how to report
    • Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who report
    • With change of ownership, seller must turn over OSHA records to buyer
  • Changes to employee rights
    • Privacy rights (i.e.: 300A, summary sheet)
      • Prohibits employers from entering an individual employee's name on Form 300 for certain types of injuries/illnesses
        • Sexual assaults
        • HIV infections
        • Mental illness
      • Provides employers the right not to describe the nature of sensitive injuries where the employee's identity would be known
      • Gives employee access to portions of Form 301 relevant to the employee they represent
      • Requires employers to remove employees' names before providing data to persons not provided access under the rule (i.e.: lawyer)
      • Requires the annual summary to be posted for three months (Feb. 1 to April 30) instead of one
      • Requires certification of annual summary by a company executive
  • Changes reporting of fatalities and catastrophes to exclude some motor carrier and motor vehicle incidents
  • Allows all forms to be kept on computer equipment or at alternate location
  • Form 300A
    • Requires increased employer review of data and additional data on the average employment/hours worked at establishment
    • Changes result in higher quality data, but more time and cost to employer
  • Changes to the definitions of medical treatment and first aid (will result in more cases being recorded)

Areas of Potential Cost Increases:

  • Change to the criteria for recording needle stick and sharps injury (will result in more cases being recorded)
  • Increased employee involvement
  • Employee privacy protections

Bloodborne Pathogen Standard:

An employer can choose to keep a separate sharps injury log to satisfy the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1030, in addition to recording injuries on the OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.