Most employers know that OSHA requires covered employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees. As part of this, OSHA requires employers to meet some reporting requirements by keeping certain records.

Reporting an injury or illness does not mean that an OSHA rule was violated; it does, however, fulfill a legal requirement.

Here are some frequently asked questions about OSHA’s injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

What is meant by occupational injury?

An occupational injury is bodily damage resulting from working. The most usual body parts involved are the spine, hands, head, lungs, eyes, skeleton and skin.

What’s so important about recordkeeping of workplace injuries and illnesses?

This information helps employers, workers and OSHA when evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards, and implementing worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards.

Recordkeeping can be used as a critical part of any employer’s safety and health program.

● Keeping track of work-related injuries and illnesses can help you prevent them in the future.
● Using injury and illness data helps identify problem areas so that you can correct hazardous workplace conditions.
● Enables you to better administer a company’s safety and health program with accurate records.

Who is required to report?

All employers under OSHA jurisdiction must report incidents to OSHA, even employers who are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records due to company size or industry.

Learn more about the full reporting requirements.

What are the OSHA forms to use?

● OSHA form 300 is the actual Log of work-related injuries and illnesses.
● OSHA form 300A is the Summary or Work-related injuries and illnesses
● OSHA form 301 is the incident report, this is one of the first forms to fill out when a recordable injury or illness occurs. It provides information on how each injury or illness occurred.

OSHA Forms

How long do records need to be maintained?

The records must be maintained at the worksite for at least five years. Each February through April, employers must post a summary of the injuries and illnesses recorded the previous year.

Who should report a fatality or in-patient hospitalization of a temporary worker?

The employer that provides the day-to-day supervision of a temporary worker must report to OSHA any work-related incident resulting in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye.

How does OSHA define a recordable injury or illness?

● 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.
● There are special recording criteria for work-related cases involving: needlesticks and sharps injuries; medical removal; hearing loss and tuberculosis.

All employers are required to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

● A fatality must be reported within 8 hours.
● An in-patient hospitalization, amputation or eye loss must be reported within 24 hours.

How does OSHA define “in-patient hospitalization”?

This means a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for are or treatment. Treatment in an Emergency Room only is not a reportable incident.

How does OSHA define “amputation”?

An amputation is the traumatic loss of all or part of a limb or other external body part, which includes:

● fingertip amputations with or without bone loss
● medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage
● amputations of body parts that have since been reattached

What if the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye does not occur during or right after the work-related incident?

If a fatality occurs within 30-days of the work-related incident, then you must report the event to OSHA.

If an in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye occurs within 24 hours of the work-related incident, then you must report it to OSHA.

What if you are covered by a state-OSHA plan and not federal OSHA?

Many states operate their own occupational safety and health programs for private sector and/or state and local government workers. Reporting requirements may vary by state, although all states must have or be in the process of developing requirements that are at least as effective as OSHA’s. For more information, visit the Office of State Programs.

What’s New with OSHA Reporting Requirements?

On May 11, 2016, OSHA issued a final rule that greatly enhances injury and illness data collection. This new rule requires many employers to electronically submit information about workplace injuries and illnesses to the government. In addition, OSHA intends to post this data on its pubic website.

Learn more about this new rule.

What about anti-retaliation protections?

Under the new rules, OSHA re-emphasizes the requriements of the whistleblower protections found in Section 11c of the federal law for employees to report injury and illnesses without fear of retaliation.

● You must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation., which may be done by posting the “Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law” Workers Right Poster.
● Your procedures for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and must not deter or discourage employees from reporting.
● You may not retaliate against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.

Learn more about the Rights of Whistleblowers.