OSHA Recordkeeping for Improving Workplace Safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is constantly looking for ways to improve workplace safety and reduce incidents to keep workers safe from injuries and fatalities. One of the key ways of doing it is by encouraging businesses to report severe injuries to OSHA which is specified under Part Number: 1904, titled ‘Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses’.
Businesses are basically required to consider any injury or illness that is responsible for:
- Restricted work or transfer to another job
- Medical treatment beyond first aid
- Loss of consciousness
If an injury or illness is diagnosed by a physician or other licensed healthcare professionals, and even if it does not cause any of the above, it must be recorded and reported.
This record is also called the OSHA Form 300 and includes details such as where and when the injury occurred, the nature of the injury or illness, the name and job title of the employee who was injured or became sick, and the number of days the person was away from work or on restricted, or light duty if any. This, along with Form 301 Incident Report, must be submitted to OSHA within seven calendar days after the employer is notified about an injury or illness in the organization.
Criteria for Reporting an Incident to OSHA
OSHA expects all companies (across industries) with 10 or more employees to maintain records of serious injuries and illnesses except those exempted based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 2007, 2008, and 2009. This was revised in 2015, before which the list of industries was based on the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 1996, 1997, and 1998.
OSHA also expanded the list of severe work-related injuries that all covered employers must report. But like before, the revised rule too expects all work-related fatalities to be reported within 8 hours. In addition to fatalities, even those work-related that cause in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and loss of an eye, must be reported within 24 hours to OSHA. Injuries that are minor and require only first aid do not have to be recorded.
On March 30, 2022, OSHA proposed a rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. As per this rule, employers would be required to do the following:
- Businesses in certain high-hazard industries with 20 or more employees must continue to electronically submit Form 300A Annual Summary information once a year to OSHA
- Those with 100 or more employees and operating in the highest-hazard industries must submit Form 300 Log and Form 301 Incident Report information annually once to OSHA. They must also continue to electronically submit Form 300A Annual Summary.
- Those who have 250 or more employees and are not categorized as high-hazard industries will not be required to electronically submit recordkeeping information to OSHA.
The proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health revolves around the following requirements:
Maintaining Records and Reporting Injuries
Employers are expected to maintain records about serious injuries and illnesses at the worksite for at least five years. Between February and April, a summary of the injuries and illnesses recorded in the previous year must be posted to the OSHA site by the employers. In case it is required, the employers must also provide copies of the records to the current and previous employees or their representatives.
- Enable OSHA to optimize resource utilization and make it more effective in identifying workplaces with the greatest risk from specific hazards. This is expected to help provide focused assistance to improve compliance and enforce the rules.
- Empower employers with data to benchmark their own injury and illness data on hazards with their peers in the same industry.
- Empower stakeholders with relevant, recent, establishment-specific, case-specific, and injury/illness data to make more informed decisions.
- Improve research on occupational safety and health.
This will soon be formalized into a rule and duly communicated.
Non-Compliance and Penalties
On February 1 every year, employers are expected to meet the requirements of the recordkeeping standard, 29 CFR Part 1904, and complete and submit the OSHA Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Even if there is no illness or injury to report, the OSHA Form 300A must be completed and electronically submitted any time between February 1 and April 30.
Not submitting the form or not submitting the correct form can attract penalties, which have been increasing since 2016 and rose by 7.75 percent this year. As compared to penalties of $7,000 and $70,000 in 2016 and $14,502 and $145,027 last year, the other-than-serious and serious citations will now attract $15,625 and $156,259, respectively. For willful or repeated violations, the additional penalty will be $11,162 per violation.
One report states that in 2022, citations with initial penalties of more than $1 million were issued by OSHA to at least six companies. Another 20 employers were issued initial penalties of more than $500,000. Both these numbers were higher than in previous years.
ComplianceQuest EHS for OSHA Reporting and Compliance
The ComplianceQuest EHS solution is aligned with the OSHA regulations and it makes it easy and efficient to do the following:
- Produce OSHA 300, 300A, or 301 incident forms electronically with just a few clicks
- As regulations become increasingly complex and expansive, more companies move into the OSHA severe violator category each year. With CQ EHS, it becomes easier to keep track of changes, stay compliant, and automate the process of OSHA submissions
- Stay up to date with compliance requirements thanks to Enhesa integration capabilities, in-built safety audit, and safety inspections capabilities
- Integrated document management and risk management
- Easy to collaborate with teams and stakeholders across multiple locations
- Continuously improve the EHS process and workflow with a data-driven approach to improve workplace safety
- Build an enterprise-wide culture with a renewed emphasis on safety requirements
- Proactively address safety risks with data and analytics
To know more, visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/lp/ehs/