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OSHA Recordable Injuries- To Record Or Not To Record – Here Are Some Answers!

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Safety Records: Recording Work-Related Illness and Injury

Each employer is required by OSHA to keep records of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. Specifically, they must record each fatality, injury and illness that is work-related, is a new case, and meets one or more of the general recording criteria noted in Section 1904.7 (or the application to specific cases of Secs. 1904.8-11). Additional criteria apply to needle stick and sharps injury cases, tuberculosis cases, hearing loss cases, medical removal cases, and musculoskeletal disorder cases.

However, an employee report alone does not trigger recording; Abrams noted that “an employer can require evaluation by a physician or some other licensed health care professional. In addition, if a professional diagnoses a significant injury or illness and the employer then determines that the case is work-related, the case must be recorded.”

Safety Records: Exceptions to Employer Recording Requirements

There are some instances in which an employee illness or injury does not need to be recorded as a work-related incident:

  • Employee was present in the workplace as member of the public
  • Employee was engaged in a voluntary fitness program at work
  • The common cold, flu etc., are not considered to be work-related contagious diseases
  • Mental illness – without the opinion of trained healthcare professional – is not automatically deemed work-related
  • Illnesses resulting from the employee’s food brought in from an outside source
  • Illness or injury resulting from personal tasks completed during working hours
  • Illness or injury resulting from self-grooming, self-medication or self-inflicted injuries (i.e., suicide attempts)

Safety Records: How do You Determine Work-Relatedness?

As you can see from the exceptions above, determining work-relatedness is the key to ensuring you’re recording everything you need to in your safety records. There must be a causal connection between the employment and the illness or injury before the case is recordable. OSHA has concluded that the determination of work-relatedness is best made by the employer, not by the healthcare professional or agency. Be careful though–Abrams explained that even though “OSHA has pretty much delegated the decision-making as to the work-relatedness of something to the employer . . . if you guess wrong, can they cite you? You bet.”

So, remember that the illness or injury is deemed 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 illness or injury. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries or illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, unless an exception specifically applies.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the work event or exposure need only be one of the discernible causes; it need not be the sole or predominant cause.

However, you must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria, and therefore to be recordable, if it results in any of the following:

1) death

2) days away from work

3) restricted work or transfer to another job

4) medical treatment beyond first aid

5) loss of consciousness

You must also consider a case to meet the general recording criteria if it involves a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional, even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness (e.g., cancer, chronic irreversible disease, a fractured or cracked bone, or a punctured eardrum).

Detailed Frequently Asked Questions for OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule

Since publication of the revised rule in January 2001, OSHA has received numerous questions about how the provisions of the new rule will affect the recording and reporting of injuries and illnesses in various situations. The purpose of this document is to provide answers to some of the more commonly asked questions related to the revised rule.

Most of the questions that OSHA has received about the new rule are answered in the text of the regulation itself. Because the rule addresses, in clear and simple language, the most common recording and reporting questions that arise, it is important that persons with recordkeeping responsibilities read the regulation and supporting materials carefully. To facilitate this, this document provides electronic links to each section of the regulation. For sections of the rule not discussed in this document, please refer to the regulatory text.

The questions and answers in this document do not themselves impose enforceable recordkeeping or reporting obligations; such obligations are imposed only by the regulation. This version was last updated on [11/21/01].

Purpose

To read the regulation: 1904.0 Purpose

Additional guidance

Question 0-1. Why are employers required to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses?

The OSH Act of 1970 requires the Secretary of Labor to produce regulations that require employers to keep records of occupational deaths, injuries, and illnesses. The records are used for several purposes. Injury and illness statistics are used by OSHA. OSHA collects data through the OSHA Data Initiative (ODI) to help direct its programs and measure its own performance. Inspectors also use the data during inspections to help direct their efforts to the hazards that are hurting workers. The records are also used by employers and employees to implement safety and health programs at individual workplaces. Analysis of the data is a widely recognized method for discovering workplace safety and health problems and for tracking progress in solving those problems. The records provide the base data for the BLS Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the Nation’s primary source of occupational injury and illness data.

Question 0-2. What is the effect of workers’ compensation reports on the OSHA records?

The purpose section of the rule includes a note to make it clear that recording an injury or illness neither affects a person’s entitlement to workers’ compensation nor proves a violation of an OSHA rule. The rules for compensability under workers’ compensation differ from state to state and do not have any effect on whether or not a case needs to be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log. Many cases will be OSHA recordable and compensable under workers’ compensation. However, some cases will be compensable but not OSHA recordable, and some cases will be OSHA recordable but not compensable under workers’ compensation.

The exemption for establishments in certain industry classifications

To read the regulation: 1904.2 Partial exemption for establishments in certain industries

Additional guidance

Question 2-1. How can I get help to find my SIC Code and determine if I’m partially exempt from the recordkeeping rule.

You can access the statistics section of OSHA’s internet home page, at http://www.osha.gov/oshstats/. Go to the website and choose SIC Manual and follow the directions. If you still cannot determine your SIC code, you can call an OSHA area office, or, if you are in a state with an OSHA-approved state plan, call your State Plan office. OSHA Office Directory

Question 2-2. Do States with OSHA-approved State plans have the same industry exemptions as Federal OSHA?

States with OSHA-approved plans may require employers to keep records for the State, even though those employers are within an industry exempted by the Federal rule.

Question 2-3. Do professional sports teams qualify for the partial industry exemption in section 1904.2?

No. Only those industry classifications listed in Appendix A to Subpart B qualify for the partial industry exemption in section 1904.2. Professional sports teams are classified under Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code 794, which is not one of the listed exempt classifications.

Recording Criteria

To read the regulation: 1904.4 Recording Criteria

Additional guidance

Question 4-1. Does an employee report of an injury or illness establish the existence of the injury or illness for recordkeeping purposes?

No. In determining whether a case is recordable, the employer must first decide whether an injury or illness, as defined by the rule, has occurred. If the employer is uncertain about whether an injury or illness has occurred, the employer may refer the employee to a physician or other health care professional for evaluation and may consider the health care professional’s opinion in determining whether an injury or illness exists. [Note: If a physician or other licensed health care professional diagnoses a significant injury or illness within the meaning of §1904.7(b)(7) and the employer determines that the case is work-related, the case must be recorded.]

Deciding if an injury or illness is work-related

To read the regulation: 1904.5 Determination of work-relatedness

Additional guidance

Question 5-1. If a maintenance employee is cleaning the parking lot or an access road and is injured as a result, is the case work-related?

Yes, the case is work-related because the employee is injured as a result of conducting company business in the work environment. If the injury meets the general recording criteria of Section 1904.7 (death, days away, etc.), the case must be recorded.

Question 5-2. Are cases of workplace violence considered work-related under the new Recordkeeping rule?

The Recordkeeping rule contains no general exception, for purposes of determining work-relationship, for cases involving acts of violence in the work environment. However, some cases involving violent acts might be included within one of the exceptions listed in section 1904.5(b)(2). For example, if an employee arrives at work early to use a company conference room for a civic club meeting and is injured by some violent act, the case would not be work-related under the exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(v).

Question 5-3. What activities are considered “personal grooming” for purposes of the exception to the geographic presumption of work-relatedness in section 1904.5(b)(2)(vi)?

Personal grooming activities are activities directly related to personal hygiene, such as combing and drying hair, brushing teeth, clipping fingernails and the like. Bathing or showering at the workplace when necessary because of an exposure to a substance at work is not within the personal grooming exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(vi). Thus, if an employee slips and falls while showering at work to remove a contaminant to which he has been exposed at work, and sustains an injury that meets one of the general recording criteria listed in section 1904.7(b)(1), the case is recordable.

Question 5-4. What are “assigned working hours” for purposes of the exception to the geographic presumption in section 1904.5(b)(2)(v)?

“Assigned working hours,” for purposes of section 1904.5(b)(2)(v), means those hours the employee is actually expected to work, including overtime.

Question 5-5. What are “personal tasks” for purposes of the exception to the geographic presumption in section 1904.5(b)(2)(v)?

“Personal tasks” for purposes of section 1904.5(b)(2)(v) are tasks that are unrelated to the employee’s job. For example, if an employee uses a company break area to work on his child’s science project, he is engaged in a personal task.

Question 5-6. If an employee stays at work after normal work hours to prepare for the next day’s tasks and is injured, is the case work-related? For example, if an employee stays after work to prepare air-sampling pumps and is injured, is the case work-related?

A case is work-related any time an event or exposure in the work environment either causes or contributes to an injury or illness or significantly aggravates a pre-existing injury or illness, unless one of the exceptions in section 1904.5(b)(2) applies. The work environment includes the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The case in question would be work-related if the employee was injured as a result of an event or exposure at work, regardless of whether the injury occurred after normal work hours.

Question 5-7. If an employee voluntarily takes work home and is injured while working at home, is the case recordable?

No. Injuries and illnesses occurring in the home environment are only considered work-related if the employee is being paid or compensated for working at home and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of the work rather than to the general home environment.

Question 5-8. If an employee’s pre-existing medical condition causes an incident which results in a subsequent injury, is the case work-related? For example, if an employee suffers an epileptic seizure, falls, and breaks his arm, is the case covered by the exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(ii)?

Neither the seizures nor the broken arm are recordable. Injuries and illnesses that result solely from non-work-related events or exposures are not recordable under the exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(ii). Epileptic seizures are a symptom of a disease of non-occupational origin, and the fact that they occur at work does not make them work-related. Because epileptic seizures are not work-related, injuries resulting solely from the seizures, such as the broken arm in the case in question, are not recordable.

Question 5-9. This question involves the following sequence of events: Employee A drives to work, parks her car in the company parking lot and is walking across the lot when she is struck by a car driven by employee B, who is commuting to work. Both employees are seriously injured in the accident. Is either case work-related?

Neither employee’s injuries are recordable. While the employee parking lot is part of the work environment under section 1904.5, injuries occurring there are not work-related if they meet the exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(vii). Section 1904.5(b)(2)(vii) excepts injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents occurring on the company parking lot while the employee is commuting to and from work. In the case in question, both employees’ injuries resulted from a motor vehicle accident in the company parking lot while the employees were commuting. Accordingly, the exception applies.

Question 5-10. How does OSHA define a “company parking lot” for purposes of Recordkeeping?

Company parking lots are part of the employer’s premises and therefore part of the establishment. These areas are under the control of the employer, i.e. those parking areas where the employer can limit access (such as parking lots limited to the employer’s employees and visitors). On the other hand, a parking area where the employer does not have control (such as a parking lot outside of a building shared by different employers, or a public parking area like those found at a mall or beneath a multi-employer office building) would not be considered part of the employers establishment (except for the owner of the building or mall), and therefore not a company parking lot for purposes of OSHA recordkeeping.

Question 5-11. An employee experienced an injury or illness in the work environment before they had “clocked in” for the day. Is the case considered work related even if that employee was not officially “on the clock” for pay purposes?

Yes. For purposes of OSHA recordkeeping injuries and illnesses occurring in the work environment are considered work-related. Punching in and out with a time clock (or signing in and out) does not affect the outcome for determining work-relatedness. If the employee experienced a work-related injury or illness, and it meets one or more of the general recording criteria under section 1904.7, it must be entered on the employer’s OSHA 300 log.

Question 5-12. Is work-related stress recordable as a mental illness case?

Mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety disorder, that have work-related stress as a contributing factor, are recordable if the employee voluntarily provides the employer with an opinion from a physician or other licensed health care professional with appropriate training and experience (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, etc.) stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work-related, and the case meets one or more of the general recording criteria. See sections 1904.5(b)(2)(ix) and 1904.7.

Question 5-13. If an employee dies or is injured or infected as a result of terrorist attacks, should it be recorded on the OSHA Injury and Illness Log? Should it be reported to OSHA?

Yes, injuries and illnesses that result from a terrorist event or exposure in the work environment are considered work-related for OSHA recordkeeping purposes. OSHA does not provide an exclusion for violence-related injury and illness cases, including injuries and illnesses resulting from terrorist attacks.

Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee from a work-related incident or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees as a result of a work-related incident, an employer must orally report the fatality/multiple hospitalization by telephone or in person to the OSHA Area office that is nearest to the site of the incident. An employer may also use the OSHA toll-free central telephone number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).

Deciding if a case is new

To read the regulation: 1904.6 Determination of new cases

Additional guidance

Question 6-1. How is an employer to determine whether an employee has “recovered completely” from a previous injury or illness such that a later injury or illness of the same type affecting the same part of the body resulting from an event or exposure at work is a “new case” under section 1904.6(a)(2)? If an employee’s signs and symptoms disappear for a day and then resurface the next day, should the employer conclude that the later signs and symptoms represent a new case?

An employee has “recovered completely” from a previous injury or illness, for purposes of section 1904.6(a)(2), when he or she is fully healed or cured. The employer must use his best judgment based on factors such as the passage of time since the symptoms last occurred and the physical appearance of the affected part of the body. If the signs and symptoms of a previous injury disappear for a day only to reappear the following day, that is strong evidence the injury has not properly healed. The employer may, but is not required to, consult a physician or other licensed health care provider (PLHCP). Where the employer does consult a PLHCP to determine whether an employee has recovered completely from a prior injury or illness, it must follow the PLHCP’s recommendation. In the event the employer receives recommendations from two or more PLHCPs, the employer may decide which recommendation is the most authoritative and record the case based on that recommendation.

What are the general recording criteria

To read the regulation: 1904.7 General recording criteria

Additional guidance

Question 7-1. The old rule required the recording of all occupational illnesses, regardless of severity. For example, a work-related skin rash was recorded even if it didn’t result in medical treatment. Does the rule still capture these minor illness cases?

No. Under the new rule, injuries and illnesses are recorded using the same criteria. As a result, some minor illness cases are no longer recordable. For example, a case of work-related skin rash is now recorded only if it results in days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job, or medical treatment beyond first aid.

Question 7-2. Does the size or degree of a burn determine recordability?

No, the size or degree of a work-related burn does not determine recordability. If a work-related first, second, or third degree burn results in one or more of the outcomes in section 1904.7 (days away, work restrictions, medical treatment, etc.), the case must be recorded.

Question 7-3. If an employee dies during surgery made necessary by a work-related injury or illness, is the case recordable? What if the surgery occurs weeks or months after the date of the injury or illness?

If an employee dies as a result of surgery or other complications following a work-related injury or illness, the case is recordable. If the underlying injury or illness was recorded prior to the employee’s death, the employer must update the Log by lining out information on less severe outcomes, e.g., days away from work or restricted work, and checking the column indicating death.

Question 7-4. An employee hurts his or her left arm and is told by the doctor not to use the left arm for one week. The employee is able to perform all of his or her routine job functions using only the right arm (though at a slower pace and the employee is never required to use both arms to perform his or her job functions). Would this be considered restricted work?

No. If the employee is able to perform all of his or her routine job functions (activities the employee regularly performs at least once per week), the case does not involve restricted work. Loss of productivity is not considered restricted work.

Question 7-5. Are surgical glues used to treat lacerations considered “first aid?”

No, surgical glue is a wound closing device. All wound closing devices except for butterfly and steri strips are by definition “medical treatment,” because they are not included on the first aid list.

Question 7-6. Item N on the first aid list is “drinking fluids for relief of heat stress.” Does this include administering intravenous (IV) fluids?

No. Intravenous administration of fluids to treat work-related heat stress is medical treatment.

Question 7-7. Is the use of a rigid finger guard considered first aid?

Yes, the use of finger guards is always first aid.

Question 7-8. For medications such as Ibuprofen that are available in both prescription and non-prescription form, what is considered to be prescription strength? How is an employer to determine whether a non-prescription medication has been recommended at prescription strength for purposes of section 1904.7(b)(5)(i)(C)(ii)(A)?

The prescription strength of such medications is determined by the measured quantity of the therapeutic agent to be taken at one time, i.e., a single dose. The single dosages that are considered prescription strength for four common over-the-counter drugs are: Ibuprofen (such as Advil™) – Greater than 467 mg Diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl™) – Greater than 50 mg Naproxen Sodium (such as Aleve™) – Greater than 220 mg Ketoprofen (such as Orudus KT™) – Greater than 25mg To determine the prescription-strength dosages for other drugs that are available in prescription and non-prescription formulations, the employer should contact OSHA, the United States Food and Drug Administration, their local pharmacist or their physician.

Question 7-9. If an employee who sustains a work-related injury requiring days away from work is terminated for drug use based on the results of a post-accident drug test, how is the case recorded? May the employer stop the day count upon termination of the employee for drug use under section 1904.7(b)(3) (viii)?

Under section 1904.7(b)(3)(viii), the employer may stop counting days away from work if an employee who is away from work because of an injury or illness leaves the company for some reason unrelated to the injury or illness, such as retirement or a plant closing. However, when the employer conducts a drug test based on the occurrence of an accident resulting in an injury at work and subsequently terminates the injured employee, the termination is related to the injury. Therefore, the employer must estimate the number of days that the employee would have been away from work due to the injury and enter that number on the 300 Log.

Question 7-10. Once an employer has recorded a case involving days away from work, restricted work or medical treatment and the employee has returned to his regular work or has received the course of recommended medical treatment, is it permissible for the employer to delete the Log entry based on a physician’s recommendation, made during a year-end review of the Log, that the days away from work, work restriction or medical treatment were not necessary?

The employer must make an initial decision about the need for days away from work, a work restriction, or medical treatment based on the information available, including any recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional. Where the employer receives contemporaneous recommendations from two or more physicians or other licensed health care professionals about the need for days away, a work restriction, or medical treatment, the employer may decide which recommendation is the most authoritative and record the case based on that recommendation. Once the days away from work or work restriction have occurred or medical treatment has been given, however, the employer may not delete the Log entry because of a physician’s recommendation, based on a year-end review of the Log, that the days away, restriction or treatment were unnecessary.

Question 7-10a. If a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends medical treatment, days away from work or restricted work activity as a result of a work-related injury or illness can the employer decline to record the case based on a contemporaneous second provider’s opinion that the recommended medical treatment, days away from work or work restriction are unnecessary, if the employer believes the second opinion is more authoritative?

Yes. However, once medical treatment is provided for a work-related injury or illness, or days away from work or work restriction have occurred, the case is recordable. If there are conflicting contemporaneous recommendations regarding medical treatment, or the need for days away from work or restricted work activity, but the medical treatment is not actually provided and no days away from work or days of work restriction have occurred, the employer may determine which recommendation is the most authoritative and record on that basis. In the case of prescription medications, OSHA considers that medical treatment is provided once a prescription is issued

Question 7-11. Section 1904.7(b)(5)(ii) of the rule defines first aid, in part, as “removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means.” What are “other simple means” of removing splinters that are considered first aid?

“Other simple means” of removing splinters, for purposes of the first-aid definition, means methods that are reasonably comparable to the listed methods. Using needles, pins or small tools to extract splinters would generally be included.

Question 7-12. How long must a modification to a job last before it can be considered a permanent modification under section 1904.7(b)(4)(xi)?

Section 1904.7(b)(4)(xi) of the rule allows an employer to stop counting days of restricted work or transfer to another job if the restriction or transfer is made permanent. A permanent restriction or transfer is one that is expected to last for the remainder of the employee’s career. Where the restriction or transfer is determined to be permanent at the time it is ordered, the employer must count at least one day of the restriction or transfer on the Log. If the employee whose work is restricted or who is transferred to another job is expected to return to his or her former job duties at a later date, the restriction or transfer is considered temporary rather than permanent.

Question 7-13. If an employee loses his arm in a work-related accident and can never return to his job, how is the case recorded? Is the day count capped at 180 days?

If an employee never returns to work following a work-related injury, the employer must check the “days away from work” column, and enter an estimate of the number of days the employee would have required to recuperate from the injury, up to180 days.

Question 7-14. If an employee who routinely works ten hours a day is restricted from working more than eight hours following a work-related injury, is the case recordable?

Generally, the employer must record any case in which an employee’s work is restricted because of a work-related injury. A work restriction, as defined in section 1904.7(b)(4)(i)(A), occurs when the employer keeps the employee from performing one or more routine functions of the job, or from working the full workday the employee would otherwise have been scheduled to work. The case in question is recordable if the employee would have worked 10 hours had he or she not been injured.

Question 7-15. If an employee is exposed to chlorine or some other substance at work and oxygen is administered as a precautionary measure, is the case recordable?

If oxygen is administered as a purely precautionary measure to an employee who does not exhibit any symptoms of an injury or illness, the case is not recordable. If the employee exposed to a substance exhibits symptoms of an injury or illness, the administration of oxygen makes the case recordable.

Question 7-16. Is the employer subject to a citation for violating section 1904.7(b)(4) (viii) if an employee fails to follow a recommended work restriction?

Section 1904.7(b) (4)(viii) deals with the recordablility of cases in which a physician or other health care professional has recommended a work restriction. The section also states that the employer “should ensure that the employee complies with the [recommended] restriction.” This language is purely advisory and does not impose an enforceable duty upon employers to ensure that employees comply with the recommended restriction. [Note: In the absence of conflicting opinions from two or more health care professionals, the employer ordinarily must record the case if a health care professional recommends a work restriction involving the employee’s routine job functions.]

Question 7-17. Are work-related cases involving chipped or broken teeth recordable?

Yes, under section 1904.7(b)(7), these cases are considered a significant injury or illness when diagnosed by a physician or other health care professional. As discussed in the preamble of the final rule, work-related fractures of bones or teeth are recognized as constituting significant diagnoses and, if the condition is work-related, are appropriately recorded at the time of initial diagnosis even if the case does not involve any of the other general recording criteria.

Question 7-18. How would the employer record the change on the OSHA 300 Log for an injury or illness after the injured worker reached the cap of 180 days for restricted work and then was assigned to “days away from work”?

The employer must check the box that reflects the most severe outcome associated with a given injury or illness. The severity of any case decreases on the log from column G (Death) to column J (Other recordable case). Since days away from work is a more severe outcome than restricted work the employer is required to remove the check initially placed in the box for job transfer or restriction and enter a check in the box for days away from work (column H). Employers are allowed to cap the number of days away and/or restricted work/job transfer when a case involves 180 calendar days. For purposes of recordability, the employer would enter 180 days in the “Job transfer or restriction” column and may also enter 1 day in the “Days away from work” column to prevent confusion or computer related problems.

Question 7-19. Does the employer have to record a work-related injury and illness, if an employee experiences minor musculoskeletal discomfort, the health care professional determines that the employee is fully able to perform all of his or her routine job functions, but the employer assigns a work restriction to the injured employee?

As set out in Chapter 2, I., F. of the Recordkeeping Policies and Procedures Manual (CPL 2-0.131) a case would not be recorded under section 1904.7(b)(4) if 1) the employee experiences minor musculoskeletal discomfort, and 2) a health care professional determines that the employee is fully able to perform all of his or her routine job functions, and 3) the employer assigns a work restriction to that employee for the purpose of preventing a more serious condition from developing. If a case is or becomes recordable under any other general recording criteria contained in section 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid, a case involving minor musculoskeletal discomfort would be recordable.

Question 7-20. Are injuries and illnesses recordable if they occurred during employment, but were not discovered until after the injured or ill employee was terminated or retired?

These cases are recordable throughout the five year record retention and updating period contained in section 1904.33. The cases would be recorded on either the log of the year in which the injury or illness occurred or the last date of employment.

Question 7-21. If an employee leaves the company after experiencing a work-related injury or illness that results in days away from work and/or days of restricted work/job transfer how would an employer record the case?

If the employee leaves the company for some reason(s) unrelated to the injury or illness, section 1904.7(b)(3)(viii) of the rule allows the employer to stop counting days away from work or days of restriction/job transfer. In order to stop a count the employer must first have a count to stop. Thus, the employer must count at least one day away from work or day of restriction/job transfer on the OSHA 300 Log. If the employee leaves the company for some reason(s) related to the injury or illness, section 1904.7(b)(3)(viii) of the rule directs the employer to make an estimate of the count of days away from work or days of restriction/job transfer expected for the particular type of case.

Question 7-22 If an employee has an adverse reaction to a smallpox vaccination; is it recordable under OSHA’s recordkeeping rule?

If an employee has an adverse reaction to a smallpox vaccination, the reaction is recordable if it is work related (see 29 CFR 1904.5) and meets the general recording criteria contained in 29 CFR 1904.7. A reaction caused by a smallpox vaccination is work related if the vaccination was necessary to enable the employee to perform his or her work duties. Such a reaction is work-related even though the employee was not required to receive it, if the vaccine was provided by the employer to protect the employee against exposure to smallpox in the work environment. For example, if a health care employer establishes a program to vaccinate employees who may be involved in treating people suffering from the effects of a smallpox outbreak, reactions to the vaccine would be work related. The same principle applies to adverse reactions among emergency response workers whose duties may cause them to be exposed to smallpox. The vaccinations in this circumstance are analogous to inoculations given to employees to immunize them from diseases to which they may be exposed to in the course of work-related overseas travel.

Question 7-23. An employee has a work-related shoulder injury resulting in days of restricted work activity. While working on restricted duty, the employee sustains a foot injury which results in a different work restriction. How would the employer record these cases?

For purposes of OSHA recordkeeping the employer would stop the count of the days of restricted work activity due to the first case, the shoulder injury, and enter the foot injury as a new case and record the number of restricted work days. If the restriction related to the second case, the foot injury, is lifted and the employee is still subject to the restriction related to their shoulder injury, the employer must resume the count of days of restricted work activity for that case.

Question 7-24. An employee is provided antibiotics for anthrax, although the employee does not test positive for exposure/infection. Is this a recordable event on the OSHA log?

No. A case must involve a death, injury, or illness to be recordable. A case involving an employee who does not test positive for exposure/infection would not be recordable because the employee is not injured or ill.

Question 7-25. An employee tests positive for anthrax exposure/infection and is provided antibiotics. Is this a recordable event on the OSHA log?

Yes. Under the most recent Recordkeeping requirements, which will be effective in January 2002, a work-related anthrax exposure/infection coupled with administration of antibiotics or other medical treatment must be recorded on the log. Until the new Recordkeeping requirements become effective, an employer is required to record a work-related illness, regardless of whether medical care is provided in connection with the illness.

Recording needle stick and sharps injuries

To read the regulation: 1904.8 Recording criteria for needle stick and sharps injuries.

Additional guidance

Question 8-1. Can you clarify the relationship between the OSHA recordkeeping requirements and the requirements in the Bloodborne Pathogens standard to maintain a sharps injury log?

The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard states: “The requirement to establish and maintain a sharps injury log shall apply to any employer who is required to maintain a log of occupational injuries and illnesses under 29 CFR 1904.” Therefore, if an employer is exempted from the OSHA recordkeeping rule, the employer does not have to maintain a sharps log. For example, dentists’ offices and doctors’ offices are not required to keep a sharps log after January 1, 2002.

Question 8-2. Can I use the OSHA 300 Log to meet the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard’s requirement for a sharps injury log?

Yes. You may use the 300 Log to meet the requirements of the sharps injury log provided you enter the type and brand of the device causing the sharps injury on the Log and you maintain your records in a way that segregates sharps injuries from other types of work-related injuries and illnesses, or allows sharps injuries to be easily separated.

Question 10-1. If an employee suffers a Standard Threshold Shift (STS) in only one ear, may the employer revise the baselines for both ears?

No. A Standard Threshold Shift, or STS, is defined in the occupational noise exposure standard at 29 CFR 1910.95(g)(10)(i) as a change in hearing threshold, relative to the baseline audiogram for that employee, of an average of 10 decibels (dB) or more at 2000, 3000, and 4000 hertz (Hz) in one or both ears. The employer is permitted only to revise the baseline in the ear where the employee suffered an STS change in hearing threshold.

Question 10-2. Which baseline is used to determine if a recordable Standard Threshold Shift (STS) has occurred this year?

Employers should use the same baseline that they would use to comply with OSHA’s Noise Standard, Part 1910.95. If the employer chose to revise an employee’s baseline due to a previous STS, then the employer would use the same revised baseline when determining recordability under section 1904.10 of the recordkeeping regulation.

Question 10-3. If an employee experienced a recordable hearing loss case, where would the employer record the case on the OSHA 300 Log?

Prior to 2004, employers should record work-related hearing loss cases according to the instructions included with the Recordkeeping Forms. If the loss is associated with an event, such as acoustic trauma (e.g., an explosion), it would be recorded as an injury with a check mark in column (M)(1). If the loss is not an injury, it would be recorded as an illness, with a check mark in the all other illness column. Beginning in January 2004, employers must record all hearing loss cases in the separate hearing loss column (M)(5).

Question 10-4 (This question was added to the directive on 1/12/2012). What rules must an employer ensure that a physician or other licensed health care professional use to make a determination that a hearing loss case is not work-related under section 1904.10(b)(6)?

Physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) must follow the rules set out in 1904.5 to determine if the hearing loss is work-related. If an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the hearing loss, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing hearing loss, the physician or licensed health care professional must consider the case to be work related. It is not necessary for work to be the sole cause, or the predominant cause, or even a substantial cause of the hearing loss; any contribution from work makes the case work-related. The employer is responsible for ensuring that the PLHCP applies the analysis in Section 1904.5 when evaluating work-related hearing loss, if the employer chooses to rely on the PLHCP’s opinion in determining recordability.

How to enter a recordable injury or illness on the forms

To read the regulation: 1904.29 Forms

Additional guidance

Question 29-1. How do I determine whether or not a case is an occupational injury or one of the occupational illness categories in Section M of the OSHA 300 Log?

The instructions that accompany the OSHA 300 Log contain examples of occupational injuries and the various types of occupational illnesses listed on the Log. If the case you are dealing with is on one of those lists, then check that injury or illness category. If the case you are dealing with is not listed, then you may check the injury or illness category that you believe best fits the circumstances of the case.

Question 29-2. Does the employer decide if an injury or illness is a privacy concern case?

Yes. The employer must decide if a case is a privacy concern case, using 1904.29(b)(7), which lists the six types of injuries and illnesses the employer must consider privacy concern cases. If the case meets any of these criteria, the employer must consider it a privacy concern case. This is a complete list of all injury and illnesses considered privacy concern cases.

Question 29-3. Under paragraph 1904.29(b)(9), the employer may use some discretion in describing a privacy concern case on the log so the employee cannot be identified. Can the employer also leave off the job title, date, or where the event occurred?

Yes. OSHA believes that this would be an unusual circumstance and that leaving this information off the log will rarely be needed. However, if the employer has reason to believe that the employee’s name can be identified through this information, these fields can be left blank.

Question 29-4. May employers attach missing information to their accident investigation or workers’ compensation forms to make them an acceptable substitute form for the OSHA 301 for recordkeeping purposes?

Yes, the employer may use a workers’ compensation form or other form that does not contain all the required information, provided the form is supplemented to contain the missing information and the supplemented form is as readable and understandable as the OSHA 301 form and is completed using the same instructions as the OSHA 301 form.

Question 29-5. If an employee reports an injury or illness and receives medical treatment this year, but states that the symptoms first arose at some unspecified date last year, on which year’s log do I record the case?

Ordinarily, the case should be recorded on the Log for the year in which the injury or illness occurred. Where the date of injury or illness cannot be determined, the date the employee reported the symptoms or received treatment must be used. In the case in question, the injury or illness would be recorded on this year’s Log because the employee cannot specify the date when the symptoms occurred.

Question 29-6. Since the new system proposes to do away with the distinction between injuries and illnesses, is there guidance on how to classify cases to complete column M on the OSHA 300 Log?

An injury or illness is an abnormal condition or disorder. Employers should look at the examples of injuries and illnesses in the “Classifying Injuries and Classifying Illnesses” section of the Recordkeeping Forms Package for guidance. If still unsure about the classification, employers could use the longstanding distinction between injuries that result from instantaneous events or those from exposures in the work environment. Cases resulting from anything other than an instantaneous event or exposure are considered illnesses.

Covered employees

To read the regulation: 1904.31 Covered employees

Additional guidance

Question 31-1. How is the term”supervised” in section 1904.31 defined for the purpose of determining whether the host employer must record the work-related injuries and illnesses of employees obtained from a temporary help service?

The host employer must record the recordable injuries and illnesses of employees not on its payroll if it supervises them on a day-to-day basis. Day-to-day supervision occurs when “in addition to specifying the output, product or result to be accomplished by the person’s work, the employer supervises the details, means, methods and processes by which the work is to be accomplished.”

Question 31-2. If a temporary personnel agency sends its employees to work in an establishment that is not required to keep OSHA records, does the agency have to record the recordable injuries and illnesses of these employees?

A temporary personnel agency need not record injuries and illnesses of those employees that are supervised on a day-to-day basis by another employer. The temporary personnel agency must record the recordable injuries and illnesses of those employees it supervises on a day to day basis, even if these employees perform work for an employer who is not covered by the recordkeeping rule.

Annual Summary

To read the regulation: 1904.32 Annual summary

Additional guidance

Question 32-1. How do I calculate the “total hours worked” on my annual summary when I have both hourly and temporary workers?

To calculate the total hours worked by all employees, include the hours worked by salaried, hourly, part-time and seasonal workers, as well as hours worked by other workers you supervise (e.g., workers supplied by a temporary help service). Do not include vacation, sick leave, holidays, or any other non-work time even if employees were paid for it. If your establishment keeps records of only the hours paid or if you have employees who are not paid by the hour, you must estimate the hours that the employees actually worked.

Question 32-2. If an employer has no recordable cases for the year, is an OSHA 300-A, Annual Summary, still required to be completed, certified and posted?

Yes. After the end of the year, employers must review the Log to verify its accuracy, summarize the 300 Log information on the 300A summary form, and certify the summary (a company executive must sign the certification). This information must then be posted for three months, from February 1 to April 30.

Question 32-3. If employers electronically post the OSHA 300-A Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses, are they in compliance with the posting requirements of 1904.32 (b) (5)?

No. The recordkeeping rule allows all forms to be kept on computer equipment or at an alternate location, as long as the employer can produce the data when needed. Section 1904.32 (b) (5), requires employers to post a copy of the Annual Summary in each establishment, where notices are normally posted [see 1903.2(a)], no later than February 1 of the year following the year covered by the records and kept in place until April 30. Only the OSHA 300-A Summary form should be posted.

Employee involvement

To read the regulation: 1904.35 Employee involvement

Additional guidance

Question 35-1. How does an employer inform each employee on how he or she is to report an injury or illness?

Employers are required to let employees know how and when to report work-related injuries and illnesses. This means that the employer must set up a way for the employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses and tell its employees how to use it. The Recordkeeping rule does not specify how the employer must accomplish these objectives, so employers have flexibility to set up systems that are appropriate to their workplace. The size of the workforce, employee’s language proficiency and literacy levels, the workplace culture, and other factors will determine what will be effective for any particular workplace.

Question 35-2. Do I have to give my employees and their representative’s access to the OSHA injury and illness records?

Yes, your employees, former employees, their personal representatives, and their authorized employee representatives have the right to access the OSHA 300 Log Form and the OSHA 300-A Summary Form. The employer must give the requester a copy of the OSHA 300 Form and the OSHA 300-A Form by the end of the next business day. In addition, employees and their representatives have the right to access the OSHA 301 Incident Form with some limitations, in section 1904.35(b)(2)(v)(B) of the recordkeeping regulation.

State requirements

To read the regulation: 1904.37 State recordkeeping regulations

Additional guidance

Question 37-1. Do I have to follow these rules if my State has an OSHA-approved State Plan?

If your workplace is located in a State that operates an OSHA-approved State Plan, you must follow the regulations of the State. However, these States must adopt occupational injury and illness recording and reporting requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in Part 1904. State Plan States must have the same requirements as Federal OSHA for determining which injuries and illnesses are recordable and how they are recorded.

Question 37-2. How may state regulations differ from the Federal requirements?

For Part 1904 provisions other than recording and reporting, State requirements may be more stringent than or supplemental to the Federal requirements. For example, a State Plan could require employers to keep records for the State, even though those employers have 10 or fewer employees (1904.1) or are within an industry exempted by the Federal rule. A State Plan could also require employers to keep additional supplementary injury and illness information, require employers to report fatality and multiple hospitalization incidents within a shorter time frame than Federal OSHA does (1904.39), require other types of incidents to be reported as they occur, require hearing loss to be recorded at a lower threshold level during CY 2002 (1904.10(c)), or impose other requirements.

Question 37-3. Are State and local government employers covered by this rule?

No, but they are covered under the equivalent State rule in States that operate OSHA-approved State Plans. State rules must cover these workplaces and require the recording and reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses.

Question 37-4. How can I find out if my State has an OSHA-approved plan?

The following States have OSHA-approved plans: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wyoming. Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York have plans that cover State and local government employees only.

Calling in fatalities and multiple hospitalization incidents to OSHA

To read the regulation: 1904.39 Reporting fatalities and multiple hospitalization incidents to OSHA

Additional guidance

Question 39-1. When a work-related heart attack occurs in the workplace and the employee dies one or more days later, how should the case be reported to OSHA?

The employer must orally report a work-related fatality by telephone or in person to the OSHA Area Office nearest to the site of the incident. The employer must report the fatality within eight hours of the employee’s death in cases where the death occurs within 30 days of the incident. The employer need not report a death occurring more than 30 days after a work-related incident.

Question 39-2. What is considered a “construction work zone” for purposes of section 1904.39(b)(3)?

A “construction work zone” for purposes of §1904.39(b)(3) is an area of a street or highway where construction activities are taking place, and is typically marked by signs, channeling devices, barriers, pavement markings and/or work vehicles. The work zone extend from the first warning sign or rotating/strobe lights on a vehicle to the “END ROAD WORK” sign or the last temporary traffic control device.

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“OSHA Recordable Injuries- To Record Or Not To Record – Here Are Some Answers!”

Safety Records: Recording Work-Related Illness and Injury

Each employer is required by OSHA to keep records of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. Specifically, they must record each fatality, injury and illness that is work-related, is a new case, and meets one or more of the general recording criteria noted in Section 1904.7 (or the application to specific cases of Secs. 1904.8-11). Additional criteria apply to needle stick and sharps injury cases, tuberculosis cases, hearing loss cases, medical removal cases, and musculoskeletal disorder cases.

However, an employee report alone does not trigger recording; Abrams noted that “an employer can require evaluation by a physician or some other licensed health care professional. In addition, if a professional diagnoses a significant injury or illness and the employer then determines that the case is work-related, the case must be recorded.”

Safety Records: Exceptions to Employer Recording Requirements

There are some instances in which an employee illness or injury does not need to be recorded as a work-related incident:

  • Employee was present in the workplace as member of the public
  • Employee was engaged in a voluntary fitness program at work
  • The common cold, flu etc., are not considered to be work-related contagious diseases
  • Mental illness – without the opinion of trained healthcare professional – is not automatically deemed work-related
  • Illnesses resulting from the employee’s food brought in from an outside source
  • Illness or injury resulting from personal tasks completed during working hours
  • Illness or injury resulting from self-grooming, self-medication or self-inflicted injuries (i.e., suicide attempts)

Safety Records: How do You Determine Work-Relatedness?

As you can see from the exceptions above, determining work-relatedness is the key to ensuring you’re recording everything you need to in your safety records. There must be a causal connection between the employment and the illness or injury before the case is recordable. OSHA has concluded that the determination of work-relatedness is best made by the employer, not by the healthcare professional or agency. Be careful though–Abrams explained that even though “OSHA has pretty much delegated the decision-making as to the work-relatedness of something to the employer . . . if you guess wrong, can they cite you? You bet.”

So, remember that the illness or injury is deemed 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 illness or injury. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries or illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, unless an exception specifically applies.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the work event or exposure need only be one of the discernible causes; it need not be the sole or predominant cause.

However, you must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria, and therefore to be recordable, if it results in any of the following:

1) death

2) days away from work

3) restricted work or transfer to another job

4) medical treatment beyond first aid

5) loss of consciousness

You must also consider a case to meet the general recording criteria if it involves a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional, even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness (e.g., cancer, chronic irreversible disease, a fractured or cracked bone, or a punctured eardrum).

Detailed Frequently Asked Questions for OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule

Since publication of the revised rule in January 2001, OSHA has received numerous questions about how the provisions of the new rule will affect the recording and reporting of injuries and illnesses in various situations. The purpose of this document is to provide answers to some of the more commonly asked questions related to the revised rule.

Most of the questions that OSHA has received about the new rule are answered in the text of the regulation itself. Because the rule addresses, in clear and simple language, the most common recording and reporting questions that arise, it is important that persons with recordkeeping responsibilities read the regulation and supporting materials carefully. To facilitate this, this document provides electronic links to each section of the regulation. For sections of the rule not discussed in this document, please refer to the regulatory text.

The questions and answers in this document do not themselves impose enforceable recordkeeping or reporting obligations; such obligations are imposed only by the regulation. This version was last updated on [11/21/01].

Purpose

To read the regulation: 1904.0 Purpose

Additional guidance

Question 0-1. Why are employers required to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses?

The OSH Act of 1970 requires the Secretary of Labor to produce regulations that require employers to keep records of occupational deaths, injuries, and illnesses. The records are used for several purposes. Injury and illness statistics are used by OSHA. OSHA collects data through the OSHA Data Initiative (ODI) to help direct its programs and measure its own performance. Inspectors also use the data during inspections to help direct their efforts to the hazards that are hurting workers. The records are also used by employers and employees to implement safety and health programs at individual workplaces. Analysis of the data is a widely recognized method for discovering workplace safety and health problems and for tracking progress in solving those problems. The records provide the base data for the BLS Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the Nation’s primary source of occupational injury and illness data.

Question 0-2. What is the effect of workers’ compensation reports on the OSHA records?

The purpose section of the rule includes a note to make it clear that recording an injury or illness neither affects a person’s entitlement to workers’ compensation nor proves a violation of an OSHA rule. The rules for compensability under workers’ compensation differ from state to state and do not have any effect on whether or not a case needs to be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log. Many cases will be OSHA recordable and compensable under workers’ compensation. However, some cases will be compensable but not OSHA recordable, and some cases will be OSHA recordable but not compensable under workers’ compensation.

The exemption for establishments in certain industry classifications

To read the regulation: 1904.2 Partial exemption for establishments in certain industries

Additional guidance

Question 2-1. How can I get help to find my SIC Code and determine if I’m partially exempt from the recordkeeping rule.

You can access the statistics section of OSHA’s internet home page, at http://www.osha.gov/oshstats/. Go to the website and choose SIC Manual and follow the directions. If you still cannot determine your SIC code, you can call an OSHA area office, or, if you are in a state with an OSHA-approved state plan, call your State Plan office. OSHA Office Directory

Question 2-2. Do States with OSHA-approved State plans have the same industry exemptions as Federal OSHA?

States with OSHA-approved plans may require employers to keep records for the State, even though those employers are within an industry exempted by the Federal rule.

Question 2-3. Do professional sports teams qualify for the partial industry exemption in section 1904.2?

No. Only those industry classifications listed in Appendix A to Subpart B qualify for the partial industry exemption in section 1904.2. Professional sports teams are classified under Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code 794, which is not one of the listed exempt classifications.

Recording Criteria

To read the regulation: 1904.4 Recording Criteria

Additional guidance

Question 4-1. Does an employee report of an injury or illness establish the existence of the injury or illness for recordkeeping purposes?

No. In determining whether a case is recordable, the employer must first decide whether an injury or illness, as defined by the rule, has occurred. If the employer is uncertain about whether an injury or illness has occurred, the employer may refer the employee to a physician or other health care professional for evaluation and may consider the health care professional’s opinion in determining whether an injury or illness exists. [Note: If a physician or other licensed health care professional diagnoses a significant injury or illness within the meaning of §1904.7(b)(7) and the employer determines that the case is work-related, the case must be recorded.]

Deciding if an injury or illness is work-related

To read the regulation: 1904.5 Determination of work-relatedness

Additional guidance

Question 5-1. If a maintenance employee is cleaning the parking lot or an access road and is injured as a result, is the case work-related?

Yes, the case is work-related because the employee is injured as a result of conducting company business in the work environment. If the injury meets the general recording criteria of Section 1904.7 (death, days away, etc.), the case must be recorded.

Question 5-2. Are cases of workplace violence considered work-related under the new Recordkeeping rule?

The Recordkeeping rule contains no general exception, for purposes of determining work-relationship, for cases involving acts of violence in the work environment. However, some cases involving violent acts might be included within one of the exceptions listed in section 1904.5(b)(2). For example, if an employee arrives at work early to use a company conference room for a civic club meeting and is injured by some violent act, the case would not be work-related under the exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(v).

Question 5-3. What activities are considered “personal grooming” for purposes of the exception to the geographic presumption of work-relatedness in section 1904.5(b)(2)(vi)?

Personal grooming activities are activities directly related to personal hygiene, such as combing and drying hair, brushing teeth, clipping fingernails and the like. Bathing or showering at the workplace when necessary because of an exposure to a substance at work is not within the personal grooming exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(vi). Thus, if an employee slips and falls while showering at work to remove a contaminant to which he has been exposed at work, and sustains an injury that meets one of the general recording criteria listed in section 1904.7(b)(1), the case is recordable.

Question 5-4. What are “assigned working hours” for purposes of the exception to the geographic presumption in section 1904.5(b)(2)(v)?

“Assigned working hours,” for purposes of section 1904.5(b)(2)(v), means those hours the employee is actually expected to work, including overtime.

Question 5-5. What are “personal tasks” for purposes of the exception to the geographic presumption in section 1904.5(b)(2)(v)?

“Personal tasks” for purposes of section 1904.5(b)(2)(v) are tasks that are unrelated to the employee’s job. For example, if an employee uses a company break area to work on his child’s science project, he is engaged in a personal task.

Question 5-6. If an employee stays at work after normal work hours to prepare for the next day’s tasks and is injured, is the case work-related? For example, if an employee stays after work to prepare air-sampling pumps and is injured, is the case work-related?

A case is work-related any time an event or exposure in the work environment either causes or contributes to an injury or illness or significantly aggravates a pre-existing injury or illness, unless one of the exceptions in section 1904.5(b)(2) applies. The work environment includes the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The case in question would be work-related if the employee was injured as a result of an event or exposure at work, regardless of whether the injury occurred after normal work hours.

Question 5-7. If an employee voluntarily takes work home and is injured while working at home, is the case recordable?

No. Injuries and illnesses occurring in the home environment are only considered work-related if the employee is being paid or compensated for working at home and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of the work rather than to the general home environment.

Question 5-8. If an employee’s pre-existing medical condition causes an incident which results in a subsequent injury, is the case work-related? For example, if an employee suffers an epileptic seizure, falls, and breaks his arm, is the case covered by the exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(ii)?

Neither the seizures nor the broken arm are recordable. Injuries and illnesses that result solely from non-work-related events or exposures are not recordable under the exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(ii). Epileptic seizures are a symptom of a disease of non-occupational origin, and the fact that they occur at work does not make them work-related. Because epileptic seizures are not work-related, injuries resulting solely from the seizures, such as the broken arm in the case in question, are not recordable.

Question 5-9. This question involves the following sequence of events: Employee A drives to work, parks her car in the company parking lot and is walking across the lot when she is struck by a car driven by employee B, who is commuting to work. Both employees are seriously injured in the accident. Is either case work-related?

Neither employee’s injuries are recordable. While the employee parking lot is part of the work environment under section 1904.5, injuries occurring there are not work-related if they meet the exception in section 1904.5(b)(2)(vii). Section 1904.5(b)(2)(vii) excepts injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents occurring on the company parking lot while the employee is commuting to and from work. In the case in question, both employees’ injuries resulted from a motor vehicle accident in the company parking lot while the employees were commuting. Accordingly, the exception applies.

Question 5-10. How does OSHA define a “company parking lot” for purposes of Recordkeeping?

Company parking lots are part of the employer’s premises and therefore part of the establishment. These areas are under the control of the employer, i.e. those parking areas where the employer can limit access (such as parking lots limited to the employer’s employees and visitors). On the other hand, a parking area where the employer does not have control (such as a parking lot outside of a building shared by different employers, or a public parking area like those found at a mall or beneath a multi-employer office building) would not be considered part of the employers establishment (except for the owner of the building or mall), and therefore not a company parking lot for purposes of OSHA recordkeeping.

Question 5-11. An employee experienced an injury or illness in the work environment before they had “clocked in” for the day. Is the case considered work related even if that employee was not officially “on the clock” for pay purposes?

Yes. For purposes of OSHA recordkeeping injuries and illnesses occurring in the work environment are considered work-related. Punching in and out with a time clock (or signing in and out) does not affect the outcome for determining work-relatedness. If the employee experienced a work-related injury or illness, and it meets one or more of the general recording criteria under section 1904.7, it must be entered on the employer’s OSHA 300 log.

Question 5-12. Is work-related stress recordable as a mental illness case?

Mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety disorder, that have work-related stress as a contributing factor, are recordable if the employee voluntarily provides the employer with an opinion from a physician or other licensed health care professional with appropriate training and experience (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, etc.) stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work-related, and the case meets one or more of the general recording criteria. See sections 1904.5(b)(2)(ix) and 1904.7.

Question 5-13. If an employee dies or is injured or infected as a result of terrorist attacks, should it be recorded on the OSHA Injury and Illness Log? Should it be reported to OSHA?

Yes, injuries and illnesses that result from a terrorist event or exposure in the work environment are considered work-related for OSHA recordkeeping purposes. OSHA does not provide an exclusion for violence-related injury and illness cases, including injuries and illnesses resulting from terrorist attacks.

Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee from a work-related incident or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees as a result of a work-related incident, an employer must orally report the fatality/multiple hospitalization by telephone or in person to the OSHA Area office that is nearest to the site of the incident. An employer may also use the OSHA toll-free central telephone number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).

Deciding if a case is new

To read the regulation: 1904.6 Determination of new cases

Additional guidance

Question 6-1. How is an employer to determine whether an employee has “recovered completely” from a previous injury or illness such that a later injury or illness of the same type affecting the same part of the body resulting from an event or exposure at work is a “new case” under section 1904.6(a)(2)? If an employee’s signs and symptoms disappear for a day and then resurface the next day, should the employer conclude that the later signs and symptoms represent a new case?

An employee has “recovered completely” from a previous injury or illness, for purposes of section 1904.6(a)(2), when he or she is fully healed or cured. The employer must use his best judgment based on factors such as the passage of time since the symptoms last occurred and the physical appearance of the affected part of the body. If the signs and symptoms of a previous injury disappear for a day only to reappear the following day, that is strong evidence the injury has not properly healed. The employer may, but is not required to, consult a physician or other licensed health care provider (PLHCP). Where the employer does consult a PLHCP to determine whether an employee has recovered completely from a prior injury or illness, it must follow the PLHCP’s recommendation. In the event the employer receives recommendations from two or more PLHCPs, the employer may decide which recommendation is the most authoritative and record the case based on that recommendation.

What are the general recording criteria

To read the regulation: 1904.7 General recording criteria

Additional guidance

Question 7-1. The old rule required the recording of all occupational illnesses, regardless of severity. For example, a work-related skin rash was recorded even if it didn’t result in medical treatment. Does the rule still capture these minor illness cases?

No. Under the new rule, injuries and illnesses are recorded using the same criteria. As a result, some minor illness cases are no longer recordable. For example, a case of work-related skin rash is now recorded only if it results in days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job, or medical treatment beyond first aid.

Question 7-2. Does the size or degree of a burn determine recordability?

No, the size or degree of a work-related burn does not determine recordability. If a work-related first, second, or third degree burn results in one or more of the outcomes in section 1904.7 (days away, work restrictions, medical treatment, etc.), the case must be recorded.

Question 7-3. If an employee dies during surgery made necessary by a work-related injury or illness, is the case recordable? What if the surgery occurs weeks or months after the date of the injury or illness?

If an employee dies as a result of surgery or other complications following a work-related injury or illness, the case is recordable. If the underlying injury or illness was recorded prior to the employee’s death, the employer must update the Log by lining out information on less severe outcomes, e.g., days away from work or restricted work, and checking the column indicating death.

Question 7-4. An employee hurts his or her left arm and is told by the doctor not to use the left arm for one week. The employee is able to perform all of his or her routine job functions using only the right arm (though at a slower pace and the employee is never required to use both arms to perform his or her job functions). Would this be considered restricted work?

No. If the employee is able to perform all of his or her routine job functions (activities the employee regularly performs at least once per week), the case does not involve restricted work. Loss of productivity is not considered restricted work.

Question 7-5. Are surgical glues used to treat lacerations considered “first aid?”

No, surgical glue is a wound closing device. All wound closing devices except for butterfly and steri strips are by definition “medical treatment,” because they are not included on the first aid list.

Question 7-6. Item N on the first aid list is “drinking fluids for relief of heat stress.” Does this include administering intravenous (IV) fluids?

No. Intravenous administration of fluids to treat work-related heat stress is medical treatment.

Question 7-7. Is the use of a rigid finger guard considered first aid?

Yes, the use of finger guards is always first aid.

Question 7-8. For medications such as Ibuprofen that are available in both prescription and non-prescription form, what is considered to be prescription strength? How is an employer to determine whether a non-prescription medication has been recommended at prescription strength for purposes of section 1904.7(b)(5)(i)(C)(ii)(A)?

The prescription strength of such medications is determined by the measured quantity of the therapeutic agent to be taken at one time, i.e., a single dose. The single dosages that are considered prescription strength for four common over-the-counter drugs are: Ibuprofen (such as Advil™) – Greater than 467 mg Diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl™) – Greater than 50 mg Naproxen Sodium (such as Aleve™) – Greater than 220 mg Ketoprofen (such as Orudus KT™) – Greater than 25mg To determine the prescription-strength dosages for other drugs that are available in prescription and non-prescription formulations, the employer should contact OSHA, the United States Food and Drug Administration, their local pharmacist or their physician.

Question 7-9. If an employee who sustains a work-related injury requiring days away from work is terminated for drug use based on the results of a post-accident drug test, how is the case recorded? May the employer stop the day count upon termination of the employee for drug use under section 1904.7(b)(3) (viii)?

Under section 1904.7(b)(3)(viii), the employer may stop counting days away from work if an employee who is away from work because of an injury or illness leaves the company for some reason unrelated to the injury or illness, such as retirement or a plant closing. However, when the employer conducts a drug test based on the occurrence of an accident resulting in an injury at work and subsequently terminates the injured employee, the termination is related to the injury. Therefore, the employer must estimate the number of days that the employee would have been away from work due to the injury and enter that number on the 300 Log.

Question 7-10. Once an employer has recorded a case involving days away from work, restricted work or medical treatment and the employee has returned to his regular work or has received the course of recommended medical treatment, is it permissible for the employer to delete the Log entry based on a physician’s recommendation, made during a year-end review of the Log, that the days away from work, work restriction or medical treatment were not necessary?

The employer must make an initial decision about the need for days away from work, a work restriction, or medical treatment based on the information available, including any recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional. Where the employer receives contemporaneous recommendations from two or more physicians or other licensed health care professionals about the need for days away, a work restriction, or medical treatment, the employer may decide which recommendation is the most authoritative and record the case based on that recommendation. Once the days away from work or work restriction have occurred or medical treatment has been given, however, the employer may not delete the Log entry because of a physician’s recommendation, based on a year-end review of the Log, that the days away, restriction or treatment were unnecessary.

Question 7-10a. If a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends medical treatment, days away from work or restricted work activity as a result of a work-related injury or illness can the employer decline to record the case based on a contemporaneous second provider’s opinion that the recommended medical treatment, days away from work or work restriction are unnecessary, if the employer believes the second opinion is more authoritative?

Yes. However, once medical treatment is provided for a work-related injury or illness, or days away from work or work restriction have occurred, the case is recordable. If there are conflicting contemporaneous recommendations regarding medical treatment, or the need for days away from work or restricted work activity, but the medical treatment is not actually provided and no days away from work or days of work restriction have occurred, the employer may determine which recommendation is the most authoritative and record on that basis. In the case of prescription medications, OSHA considers that medical treatment is provided once a prescription is issued

Question 7-11. Section 1904.7(b)(5)(ii) of the rule defines first aid, in part, as “removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means.” What are “other simple means” of removing splinters that are considered first aid?

“Other simple means” of removing splinters, for purposes of the first-aid definition, means methods that are reasonably comparable to the listed methods. Using needles, pins or small tools to extract splinters would generally be included.

Question 7-12. How long must a modification to a job last before it can be considered a permanent modification under section 1904.7(b)(4)(xi)?

Section 1904.7(b)(4)(xi) of the rule allows an employer to stop counting days of restricted work or transfer to another job if the restriction or transfer is made permanent. A permanent restriction or transfer is one that is expected to last for the remainder of the employee’s career. Where the restriction or transfer is determined to be permanent at the time it is ordered, the employer must count at least one day of the restriction or transfer on the Log. If the employee whose work is restricted or who is transferred to another job is expected to return to his or her former job duties at a later date, the restriction or transfer is considered temporary rather than permanent.

Question 7-13. If an employee loses his arm in a work-related accident and can never return to his job, how is the case recorded? Is the day count capped at 180 days?

If an employee never returns to work following a work-related injury, the employer must check the “days away from work” column, and enter an estimate of the number of days the employee would have required to recuperate from the injury, up to180 days.

Question 7-14. If an employee who routinely works ten hours a day is restricted from working more than eight hours following a work-related injury, is the case recordable?

Generally, the employer must record any case in which an employee’s work is restricted because of a work-related injury. A work restriction, as defined in section 1904.7(b)(4)(i)(A), occurs when the employer keeps the employee from performing one or more routine functions of the job, or from working the full workday the employee would otherwise have been scheduled to work. The case in question is recordable if the employee would have worked 10 hours had he or she not been injured.

Question 7-15. If an employee is exposed to chlorine or some other substance at work and oxygen is administered as a precautionary measure, is the case recordable?

If oxygen is administered as a purely precautionary measure to an employee who does not exhibit any symptoms of an injury or illness, the case is not recordable. If the employee exposed to a substance exhibits symptoms of an injury or illness, the administration of oxygen makes the case recordable.

Question 7-16. Is the employer subject to a citation for violating section 1904.7(b)(4) (viii) if an employee fails to follow a recommended work restriction?

Section 1904.7(b) (4)(viii) deals with the recordablility of cases in which a physician or other health care professional has recommended a work restriction. The section also states that the employer “should ensure that the employee complies with the [recommended] restriction.” This language is purely advisory and does not impose an enforceable duty upon employers to ensure that employees comply with the recommended restriction. [Note: In the absence of conflicting opinions from two or more health care professionals, the employer ordinarily must record the case if a health care professional recommends a work restriction involving the employee’s routine job functions.]

Question 7-17. Are work-related cases involving chipped or broken teeth recordable?

Yes, under section 1904.7(b)(7), these cases are considered a significant injury or illness when diagnosed by a physician or other health care professional. As discussed in the preamble of the final rule, work-related fractures of bones or teeth are recognized as constituting significant diagnoses and, if the condition is work-related, are appropriately recorded at the time of initial diagnosis even if the case does not involve any of the other general recording criteria.

Question 7-18. How would the employer record the change on the OSHA 300 Log for an injury or illness after the injured worker reached the cap of 180 days for restricted work and then was assigned to “days away from work”?

The employer must check the box that reflects the most severe outcome associated with a given injury or illness. The severity of any case decreases on the log from column G (Death) to column J (Other recordable case). Since days away from work is a more severe outcome than restricted work the employer is required to remove the check initially placed in the box for job transfer or restriction and enter a check in the box for days away from work (column H). Employers are allowed to cap the number of days away and/or restricted work/job transfer when a case involves 180 calendar days. For purposes of recordability, the employer would enter 180 days in the “Job transfer or restriction” column and may also enter 1 day in the “Days away from work” column to prevent confusion or computer related problems.

Question 7-19. Does the employer have to record a work-related injury and illness, if an employee experiences minor musculoskeletal discomfort, the health care professional determines that the employee is fully able to perform all of his or her routine job functions, but the employer assigns a work restriction to the injured employee?

As set out in Chapter 2, I., F. of the Recordkeeping Policies and Procedures Manual (CPL 2-0.131) a case would not be recorded under section 1904.7(b)(4) if 1) the employee experiences minor musculoskeletal discomfort, and 2) a health care professional determines that the employee is fully able to perform all of his or her routine job functions, and 3) the employer assigns a work restriction to that employee for the purpose of preventing a more serious condition from developing. If a case is or becomes recordable under any other general recording criteria contained in section 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid, a case involving minor musculoskeletal discomfort would be recordable.

Question 7-20. Are injuries and illnesses recordable if they occurred during employment, but were not discovered until after the injured or ill employee was terminated or retired?

These cases are recordable throughout the five year record retention and updating period contained in section 1904.33. The cases would be recorded on either the log of the year in which the injury or illness occurred or the last date of employment.

Question 7-21. If an employee leaves the company after experiencing a work-related injury or illness that results in days away from work and/or days of restricted work/job transfer how would an employer record the case?

If the employee leaves the company for some reason(s) unrelated to the injury or illness, section 1904.7(b)(3)(viii) of the rule allows the employer to stop counting days away from work or days of restriction/job transfer. In order to stop a count the employer must first have a count to stop. Thus, the employer must count at least one day away from work or day of restriction/job transfer on the OSHA 300 Log. If the employee leaves the company for some reason(s) related to the injury or illness, section 1904.7(b)(3)(viii) of the rule directs the employer to make an estimate of the count of days away from work or days of restriction/job transfer expected for the particular type of case.

Question 7-22 If an employee has an adverse reaction to a smallpox vaccination; is it recordable under OSHA’s recordkeeping rule?

If an employee has an adverse reaction to a smallpox vaccination, the reaction is recordable if it is work related (see 29 CFR 1904.5) and meets the general recording criteria contained in 29 CFR 1904.7. A reaction caused by a smallpox vaccination is work related if the vaccination was necessary to enable the employee to perform his or her work duties. Such a reaction is work-related even though the employee was not required to receive it, if the vaccine was provided by the employer to protect the employee against exposure to smallpox in the work environment. For example, if a health care employer establishes a program to vaccinate employees who may be involved in treating people suffering from the effects of a smallpox outbreak, reactions to the vaccine would be work related. The same principle applies to adverse reactions among emergency response workers whose duties may cause them to be exposed to smallpox. The vaccinations in this circumstance are analogous to inoculations given to employees to immunize them from diseases to which they may be exposed to in the course of work-related overseas travel.

Question 7-23. An employee has a work-related shoulder injury resulting in days of restricted work activity. While working on restricted duty, the employee sustains a foot injury which results in a different work restriction. How would the employer record these cases?

For purposes of OSHA recordkeeping the employer would stop the count of the days of restricted work activity due to the first case, the shoulder injury, and enter the foot injury as a new case and record the number of restricted work days. If the restriction related to the second case, the foot injury, is lifted and the employee is still subject to the restriction related to their shoulder injury, the employer must resume the count of days of restricted work activity for that case.

Question 7-24. An employee is provided antibiotics for anthrax, although the employee does not test positive for exposure/infection. Is this a recordable event on the OSHA log?

No. A case must involve a death, injury, or illness to be recordable. A case involving an employee who does not test positive for exposure/infection would not be recordable because the employee is not injured or ill.

Question 7-25. An employee tests positive for anthrax exposure/infection and is provided antibiotics. Is this a recordable event on the OSHA log?

Yes. Under the most recent Recordkeeping requirements, which will be effective in January 2002, a work-related anthrax exposure/infection coupled with administration of antibiotics or other medical treatment must be recorded on the log. Until the new Recordkeeping requirements become effective, an employer is required to record a work-related illness, regardless of whether medical care is provided in connection with the illness.

Recording needle stick and sharps injuries

To read the regulation: 1904.8 Recording criteria for needle stick and sharps injuries.

Additional guidance

Question 8-1. Can you clarify the relationship between the OSHA recordkeeping requirements and the requirements in the Bloodborne Pathogens standard to maintain a sharps injury log?

The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard states: “The requirement to establish and maintain a sharps injury log shall apply to any employer who is required to maintain a log of occupational injuries and illnesses under 29 CFR 1904.” Therefore, if an employer is exempted from the OSHA recordkeeping rule, the employer does not have to maintain a sharps log. For example, dentists’ offices and doctors’ offices are not required to keep a sharps log after January 1, 2002.

Question 8-2. Can I use the OSHA 300 Log to meet the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard’s requirement for a sharps injury log?

Yes. You may use the 300 Log to meet the requirements of the sharps injury log provided you enter the type and brand of the device causing the sharps injury on the Log and you maintain your records in a way that segregates sharps injuries from other types of work-related injuries and illnesses, or allows sharps injuries to be easily separated.

Question 10-1. If an employee suffers a Standard Threshold Shift (STS) in only one ear, may the employer revise the baselines for both ears?

No. A Standard Threshold Shift, or STS, is defined in the occupational noise exposure standard at 29 CFR 1910.95(g)(10)(i) as a change in hearing threshold, relative to the baseline audiogram for that employee, of an average of 10 decibels (dB) or more at 2000, 3000, and 4000 hertz (Hz) in one or both ears. The employer is permitted only to revise the baseline in the ear where the employee suffered an STS change in hearing threshold.

Question 10-2. Which baseline is used to determine if a recordable Standard Threshold Shift (STS) has occurred this year?

Employers should use the same baseline that they would use to comply with OSHA’s Noise Standard, Part 1910.95. If the employer chose to revise an employee’s baseline due to a previous STS, then the employer would use the same revised baseline when determining recordability under section 1904.10 of the recordkeeping regulation.

Question 10-3. If an employee experienced a recordable hearing loss case, where would the employer record the case on the OSHA 300 Log?

Prior to 2004, employers should record work-related hearing loss cases according to the instructions included with the Recordkeeping Forms. If the loss is associated with an event, such as acoustic trauma (e.g., an explosion), it would be recorded as an injury with a check mark in column (M)(1). If the loss is not an injury, it would be recorded as an illness, with a check mark in the all other illness column. Beginning in January 2004, employers must record all hearing loss cases in the separate hearing loss column (M)(5).

Question 10-4 (This question was added to the directive on 1/12/2012). What rules must an employer ensure that a physician or other licensed health care professional use to make a determination that a hearing loss case is not work-related under section 1904.10(b)(6)?

Physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) must follow the rules set out in 1904.5 to determine if the hearing loss is work-related. If an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the hearing loss, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing hearing loss, the physician or licensed health care professional must consider the case to be work related. It is not necessary for work to be the sole cause, or the predominant cause, or even a substantial cause of the hearing loss; any contribution from work makes the case work-related. The employer is responsible for ensuring that the PLHCP applies the analysis in Section 1904.5 when evaluating work-related hearing loss, if the employer chooses to rely on the PLHCP’s opinion in determining recordability.

How to enter a recordable injury or illness on the forms

To read the regulation: 1904.29 Forms

Additional guidance

Question 29-1. How do I determine whether or not a case is an occupational injury or one of the occupational illness categories in Section M of the OSHA 300 Log?

The instructions that accompany the OSHA 300 Log contain examples of occupational injuries and the various types of occupational illnesses listed on the Log. If the case you are dealing with is on one of those lists, then check that injury or illness category. If the case you are dealing with is not listed, then you may check the injury or illness category that you believe best fits the circumstances of the case.

Question 29-2. Does the employer decide if an injury or illness is a privacy concern case?

Yes. The employer must decide if a case is a privacy concern case, using 1904.29(b)(7), which lists the six types of injuries and illnesses the employer must consider privacy concern cases. If the case meets any of these criteria, the employer must consider it a privacy concern case. This is a complete list of all injury and illnesses considered privacy concern cases.

Question 29-3. Under paragraph 1904.29(b)(9), the employer may use some discretion in describing a privacy concern case on the log so the employee cannot be identified. Can the employer also leave off the job title, date, or where the event occurred?

Yes. OSHA believes that this would be an unusual circumstance and that leaving this information off the log will rarely be needed. However, if the employer has reason to believe that the employee’s name can be identified through this information, these fields can be left blank.

Question 29-4. May employers attach missing information to their accident investigation or workers’ compensation forms to make them an acceptable substitute form for the OSHA 301 for recordkeeping purposes?

Yes, the employer may use a workers’ compensation form or other form that does not contain all the required information, provided the form is supplemented to contain the missing information and the supplemented form is as readable and understandable as the OSHA 301 form and is completed using the same instructions as the OSHA 301 form.

Question 29-5. If an employee reports an injury or illness and receives medical treatment this year, but states that the symptoms first arose at some unspecified date last year, on which year’s log do I record the case?

Ordinarily, the case should be recorded on the Log for the year in which the injury or illness occurred. Where the date of injury or illness cannot be determined, the date the employee reported the symptoms or received treatment must be used. In the case in question, the injury or illness would be recorded on this year’s Log because the employee cannot specify the date when the symptoms occurred.

Question 29-6. Since the new system proposes to do away with the distinction between injuries and illnesses, is there guidance on how to classify cases to complete column M on the OSHA 300 Log?

An injury or illness is an abnormal condition or disorder. Employers should look at the examples of injuries and illnesses in the “Classifying Injuries and Classifying Illnesses” section of the Recordkeeping Forms Package for guidance. If still unsure about the classification, employers could use the longstanding distinction between injuries that result from instantaneous events or those from exposures in the work environment. Cases resulting from anything other than an instantaneous event or exposure are considered illnesses.

Covered employees

To read the regulation: 1904.31 Covered employees

Additional guidance

Question 31-1. How is the term”supervised” in section 1904.31 defined for the purpose of determining whether the host employer must record the work-related injuries and illnesses of employees obtained from a temporary help service?

The host employer must record the recordable injuries and illnesses of employees not on its payroll if it supervises them on a day-to-day basis. Day-to-day supervision occurs when “in addition to specifying the output, product or result to be accomplished by the person’s work, the employer supervises the details, means, methods and processes by which the work is to be accomplished.”

Question 31-2. If a temporary personnel agency sends its employees to work in an establishment that is not required to keep OSHA records, does the agency have to record the recordable injuries and illnesses of these employees?

A temporary personnel agency need not record injuries and illnesses of those employees that are supervised on a day-to-day basis by another employer. The temporary personnel agency must record the recordable injuries and illnesses of those employees it supervises on a day to day basis, even if these employees perform work for an employer who is not covered by the recordkeeping rule.

Annual Summary

To read the regulation: 1904.32 Annual summary

Additional guidance

Question 32-1. How do I calculate the “total hours worked” on my annual summary when I have both hourly and temporary workers?

To calculate the total hours worked by all employees, include the hours worked by salaried, hourly, part-time and seasonal workers, as well as hours worked by other workers you supervise (e.g., workers supplied by a temporary help service). Do not include vacation, sick leave, holidays, or any other non-work time even if employees were paid for it. If your establishment keeps records of only the hours paid or if you have employees who are not paid by the hour, you must estimate the hours that the employees actually worked.

Question 32-2. If an employer has no recordable cases for the year, is an OSHA 300-A, Annual Summary, still required to be completed, certified and posted?

Yes. After the end of the year, employers must review the Log to verify its accuracy, summarize the 300 Log information on the 300A summary form, and certify the summary (a company executive must sign the certification). This information must then be posted for three months, from February 1 to April 30.

Question 32-3. If employers electronically post the OSHA 300-A Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses, are they in compliance with the posting requirements of 1904.32 (b) (5)?

No. The recordkeeping rule allows all forms to be kept on computer equipment or at an alternate location, as long as the employer can produce the data when needed. Section 1904.32 (b) (5), requires employers to post a copy of the Annual Summary in each establishment, where notices are normally posted [see 1903.2(a)], no later than February 1 of the year following the year covered by the records and kept in place until April 30. Only the OSHA 300-A Summary form should be posted.

Employee involvement

To read the regulation: 1904.35 Employee involvement

Additional guidance

Question 35-1. How does an employer inform each employee on how he or she is to report an injury or illness?

Employers are required to let employees know how and when to report work-related injuries and illnesses. This means that the employer must set up a way for the employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses and tell its employees how to use it. The Recordkeeping rule does not specify how the employer must accomplish these objectives, so employers have flexibility to set up systems that are appropriate to their workplace. The size of the workforce, employee’s language proficiency and literacy levels, the workplace culture, and other factors will determine what will be effective for any particular workplace.

Question 35-2. Do I have to give my employees and their representative’s access to the OSHA injury and illness records?

Yes, your employees, former employees, their personal representatives, and their authorized employee representatives have the right to access the OSHA 300 Log Form and the OSHA 300-A Summary Form. The employer must give the requester a copy of the OSHA 300 Form and the OSHA 300-A Form by the end of the next business day. In addition, employees and their representatives have the right to access the OSHA 301 Incident Form with some limitations, in section 1904.35(b)(2)(v)(B) of the recordkeeping regulation.

State requirements

To read the regulation: 1904.37 State recordkeeping regulations

Additional guidance

Question 37-1. Do I have to follow these rules if my State has an OSHA-approved State Plan?

If your workplace is located in a State that operates an OSHA-approved State Plan, you must follow the regulations of the State. However, these States must adopt occupational injury and illness recording and reporting requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in Part 1904. State Plan States must have the same requirements as Federal OSHA for determining which injuries and illnesses are recordable and how they are recorded.

Question 37-2. How may state regulations differ from the Federal requirements?

For Part 1904 provisions other than recording and reporting, State requirements may be more stringent than or supplemental to the Federal requirements. For example, a State Plan could require employers to keep records for the State, even though those employers have 10 or fewer employees (1904.1) or are within an industry exempted by the Federal rule. A State Plan could also require employers to keep additional supplementary injury and illness information, require employers to report fatality and multiple hospitalization incidents within a shorter time frame than Federal OSHA does (1904.39), require other types of incidents to be reported as they occur, require hearing loss to be recorded at a lower threshold level during CY 2002 (1904.10(c)), or impose other requirements.

Question 37-3. Are State and local government employers covered by this rule?

No, but they are covered under the equivalent State rule in States that operate OSHA-approved State Plans. State rules must cover these workplaces and require the recording and reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses.

Question 37-4. How can I find out if my State has an OSHA-approved plan?

The following States have OSHA-approved plans: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wyoming. Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York have plans that cover State and local government employees only.

Calling in fatalities and multiple hospitalization incidents to OSHA

To read the regulation: 1904.39 Reporting fatalities and multiple hospitalization incidents to OSHA

Additional guidance

Question 39-1. When a work-related heart attack occurs in the workplace and the employee dies one or more days later, how should the case be reported to OSHA?

The employer must orally report a work-related fatality by telephone or in person to the OSHA Area Office nearest to the site of the incident. The employer must report the fatality within eight hours of the employee’s death in cases where the death occurs within 30 days of the incident. The employer need not report a death occurring more than 30 days after a work-related incident.

Question 39-2. What is considered a “construction work zone” for purposes of section 1904.39(b)(3)?

A “construction work zone” for purposes of §1904.39(b)(3) is an area of a street or highway where construction activities are taking place, and is typically marked by signs, channeling devices, barriers, pavement markings and/or work vehicles. The work zone extend from the first warning sign or rotating/strobe lights on a vehicle to the “END ROAD WORK” sign or the last temporary traffic control device.

Forklift Safety – “Are Your Employees Trained Properly?”

Note: This video may sound and seem funny, but it’s not, these are dangerous acts and accidents!

Frequently Asked Questions about Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training


The powered industrial truck operator training requirements apply to all industries where trucks are being used, except agricultural operations.

1. What is the definition of a powered industrial truck?

Any mobile power-propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack or tier materials. Powered industrial trucks can be ridden or controlled by a walking operator. Earth moving and over the road haulage trucks are not included in the definition. Equipment that was designed to move earth but has been modified to accept forks are also not included.

2. What does the standard require?

The standard requires employers to develop and implement a training program based on the general principles of safe truck operation, the types of vehicle(s) being used in the workplace, the hazards of the workplace created by the use of the vehicle(s), and the general safety requirements of the OSHA standard. Trained operators must know how to do the job properly and do it safely as demonstrated by workplace evaluation. Formal (lecture, video, etc.) and practical (demonstration and practical exercises) training must be provided. Employers must also certify that each operator has received the training and evaluate each operator at least once every three years. Prior to operating the truck in the workplace, the employer must evaluate the operator’s performance and determine the operator to be competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely. Refresher training is needed whenever an operator demonstrates a deficiency in the safe operation of the truck.

3. Does OSHA provide a list of topics to include in my training program?

Yes. The standard provides a list of training topics; however, the employer may exclude those topics which are not relevant to safe operation at the employee’s work location.

4. Who should conduct the training?

All training and evaluation must be conducted by persons with the necessary knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and evaluate their competence. An example of a qualified trainer would be a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience has demonstrated the ability to train and evaluate powered industrial truck operators.

There are many resources available to the employer if he/she chooses not to perform the training himself. Truck manufacturers, local safety and health safety organizations, such as the National Safety Council local chapters, private consultants with expertise in powered industrial trucks, local trade and vocational schools are some available resources.

Various Internet sites are devoted to forklift safety. Private companies who provide forklift safety training services, including videos and written programs, can be located on various Internet websites. Most videos can be either leased or purchased. One important thing to remember is that simply by showing employees a video or videos on some aspect of forklift safety does not meet the full requirements of the OSHA standard. Site specific information must be conveyed as well as a method to evaluate the employee’s acquired knowledge subsequent to the training.

5. If my employees receive training from an outside consultant, how will I know that these employees have been adequately trained?

Outside qualified training organizations can provide evidence that the employee has successfully completed the relevant classroom and practical training. However, each employer must ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation.

6. My employees receive training from the union on the use of powered industrial trucks. Will I have to provide any additional training?

When a worker reports to work, the employer must evaluate the employee to ensure that he/she is knowledgeable about the operation of the powered industrial trucks he/she will be assigned to operate. This evaluation could be as simple as having a person with the requisite skills, knowledge and experience observe the operator performing several typical operations to ensure that the truck is being operated safely and asking the operator a few questions related to the safe operation of the vehicle. If the operator has operated the same type of equipment before in the same type of environment that he/she will be expected to be working, then duplicative or additional training is not required.

7. Is testing required?

No. The standard does not specifically require testing; however, some method of evaluation is necessary.

8. Does OSHA require the employer to issue licenses to employees who have received training?

No. The OSHA standard does not require employees to be licensed. An employer may choose to issue licenses to trained operators.

9. What type of records or documentation must I keep?

The OSHA standard requires that the employer certify that each operator has received the training and has been evaluated. The written certification record must include the name of the operator, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation, and the identify of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation.

10. How long must I keep the certification records?

Employers who evaluate the operator’s performance more frequently than every three years may retain the most recent certification record; otherwise, certification records must be maintained for three years.

11. If my employees receive training, but accidents still continue to occur, what should I do?

Refresher training in relevant topics is necessary when the operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident.

12. Is annual training required?

No. An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance is required to be conducted after initial training, after refresher training, and at least once every three years.

13. How often must refresher training be given?

The standard does not require any specific frequency of refresher training. Refresher training must be provided when:

  1. The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
  2. The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident.
  3. The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely.
  4. The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck.
  5. A condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safety operation of the truck.

14. If my employees have already received training, or have been operating trucks for many years, must I retrain them?

No. An employer does not need to retrain an employee in the operation of a powered industrial truck if the employer certifies that the operator has been evaluated and has proven to be competent to operate the truck safely. The operator would need additional training in those elements where his or her performance indicates the need for further training and for new types of equipment and areas of operation.

15. How do I evaluate my employee’s competency to operate a truck safely?

Evaluation of an operator’s performance can be determined by a number of ways, such as:

  • a discussion with the employee
  • an observation of the employee operating the powered industrial truck
  • written documentation of previous training
  • a performance test

16. Does OSHA provide training to my truck operators?

No. It is the employer’s responsibility to train the employees.

17. Do I have to train all employees in my workplace?

Any employee that operates a powered industrial truck must be trained.

18. Do I have to ensure that my operator’s are physically capable of driving a powered industry truck?

The new standard does not contain provisions for checking vision, hearing or general medical status of employees operating powered industrial trucks. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) addresses the issue of whether employers may impose physical qualifications upon employees or applicants for employment. The ADA permits employers to adopt medical qualification requirements which are necessary to assure that an individual does not pose a “direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals in the workplace” provided all reasonable efforts are made to accommodate otherwise qualified individuals.

19. I have three different types of trucks in my workplace. Can I provide training on just one type of truck?

If an operator will be expected to operate all three types of vehicles, then training must address the unique characteristics of each type of vehicle the employee is expected to operate. When an attachment is used on the truck to move odd-shaped materials, then the operator training must include instruction on the safe conduct of those operations so that the operator knows and understands the restrictions or limitations created by each vehicle’s use.

20. I only have powered hand trucks in my workplace. Do the training requirements cover the operators of this type of vehicle? The operator walks alongside the unit while holding onto the handle to guide it.

Yes. The use of powered hand trucks present numerous hazards to employees who operate them and those working in the area where they are used.

21. I employ drivers from a temporary agency. Who provides them training – the temporary service or me?

OSHA has issued several letters of interpretations on the subject of training of temporary employees. Basically, there is a shared responsibility for assuring employees are adequately trained. The responsibility for providing training should be spelled out in the contractual agreement between the two parties. The temporary agency or the contracting employer may conduct the training and evaluation of operators from a temporary agency as required by the standard; however, the host employer (or other employer who enters into a contract with the temporary agency) must provide site-specific information and training on the use of the particular types of trucks and workplace-related topics that are present in the workplace.

22. Should my training include the use of operator restraint devices (e.g. seat belts)?

Employers are required to train employees in all operating instructions, warnings, and precautions listed in the operator’s manual for the type of vehicle which the employee is being trained to operate. Therefore, operators must be trained in the use of operator restraint systems when it is addressed in the operating instructions.

23. What does OSHA expect to achieve as a result of improved operator’s training?

OSHA’s goal is to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses that occur to workers in the workplace from unsafe powered industrial truck usage. By providing an effective training program many other benefits will result. Among these are the lower cost of compensation insurance, less property damage, and less product damage.

24. Where can I get additional information about OSHA standards?

For more information, contact your local or Regional OSHA office (listed in the telephone directory under United States Government – Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration). OSHA also has a Home Page on the Internet.

 

“How Would a Court Rate Your Training Programs?”

OSHA Top 10 Cited in 2014

 

OSHA Top 10 Violations Cited In 2014

Your training programs make the difference between safe workers and injured workers. They can also protect you from liability. Here’s a case in point.
Brendan” worked for a chemical company for 30 years before he was injured. A mechanic, Brendan was hurt when he and another employee tried to replace three broken drive belts on a blending blower. Three fingers on Brendan’s right hand were injured when they were pinched between the drive belt and a pulley.The incident occurred after the two workers had cut the electrical power to the blower. But they had failed to eliminate the reverse airflow to the equipment. Although the pulley continued to rotate, neither Brendan nor his co-worker shut off the air valve to the blower or asked a supervisor for help. Instead they inserted an aluminum broom handle into the machine to stop the pulley from rotating.

Shortly after Brendan started working on the blower, the broom handle broke, the pulley began to move, and his hand was pulled into the blower.

During the previous 12 years, Brendan had received training on the company’s lockout rules 10 times. The most recent training had taken place 1 month before the injury, when he successfully completed a multiple choice test on those safety rules after the training session.

Employer Opposes WC Claim

When Brendan filed for workers’ compensation benefits, the company opposed the claim, saying the employee had caused his own injury because he did not follow safety rules with which he was thoroughly familiar after years of training.

The administrative law judge agreed and reduced the workers’ comp award by more than a third. Under Missouri law, workers’ comp awards can be reduced 25 to 50 percent if:

  • A worker fails to obey a reasonable safety rule of which he or she had knowledge
  • The employer made a reasonable effort to cause the employee to obey the rule

The employee appealed the ruling to the Missouri Court of Appeals.

What the Court Said

The appeals court rejected the employee’s challenge to the reduction in benefits, saying:

“[S]ubstantial evidence in the record supports the Commission’s determination that [the employer] made reasonable efforts to cause employee compliance with its lockout rules. [The employer] distributed written safety materials and conducted regular safety training seminars educating employees concerning the rules, and warning them that ‘[d]isciplinary action will be taken if employees fail to follow necessary guidelines…up to and including termination.’

“Training records revealed that [Brendan] received almost annual training on these rules…and successfully completed a written test to confirm his understanding of those rules.

“This supports the Commission’s conclusion that [the employer’s] lockout rules were not simply ‘on the books,’ and ‘dusted off’…. [E]mployees were actively and repeatedly trained on these rules, and they were warned of discipline up to and including termination if they failed to comply.”

Although this case deals specifically with Missouri state law, it serves as a good reminder to all employers about the need to train workers on safety rules and to document both their completion of training courses and their understanding of the material covered.

Source: BLR

“Australia Officially Has The Most Adorably Morbid Safety Video Ever!”

WARNING: Do not attempt any of the things mentioned in this video. Except that last thing. Definitely do the last thing. Oh, and sorry in advance if this gets stuck in your head.

Mid-Year Review of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program.

osha-inspections

Mid-year review of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program.

Under the Site-Specific Targeting 2014 Program (SST-14), OSHA has issued its annual inspection plan. After analyzing data collected from a survey of 80,000 establishments, the plan is directing enforcement resources to workplaces focusing on reducing injuries and illnesses.

OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting program is one of their main programmed inspection plans for non-construction workplaces with 20 or more workers. Also implemented by OSHA are 13 National Emphasis Programs (NEP) and approximately 140 Regional and Local Emphasis Programs that intensify inspections of industries or hazards.

OSHA’s SST-14 Program will require area offices to inspect facilities that meet one or more of the following criteria as outlined in their Primary Inspection List:

  • Manufacturing establishments that meet a Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) rating of 7.0 or above.
  • Manufacturing establishments that meet a Days Away from Work Injury and Illness (DAFWII) case rating of 5.0 or above.
  • Nonmanufacturing establishments that meet a DART rating of 15.0 or above.
  • Nonmanufacturing establishments that meet a DAFWII case rating of 14.0 or above.

Once all of the inspections from the Primary Inspection List have been completed by an area office, it can proceed with inspections of facilities that meet one or more of the following criteria as outlined in the Secondary Inspection List:

  • Manufacturing establishments that meet a DART rating of 5.0 or above.
  • Manufacturing establishments that meet a DAFWII case rating of 4.0 or above.
  • Nonmanufacturing establishments that meet a DART rating of 7.0 or above.
  • Nonmanufacturing establishments that meet a DAFWII case rating of 5.0 or above.

If an area office completes all inspections on the Secondary Inspection List, the area office will move on to the Regional and Local Emphasis Programs for further inspections. The establishments to be inspected will have a DART rating of 3.6 or higher or a DAFWII case rating of 2.2 or higher.

OSHA’s ongoing 13 National Emphasis Programs are:

Combustible Dust (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-008)

  • Federal Agencies (OSHA Notice 13-02 (FAP 01)
  • Hazardous Machinery (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-003)
  • Hexavalent Chromium (OSHA Instruction CPL 02-02-076)
  • Isocyanates (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-017)
  • Lead (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-009)
  • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-016)
  • Primary Metal industries (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-013)
  • Process Safety Management (OSHA Instructions CPL 03-00-014, CPL 03-00-010)
  • Shipbreaking (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-012)
  • Silica (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-007)
  • Trenching and Excavation (OSHA Instruction CPL 02-00-069)

The plan is based on survey data and is systematically directing enforcement resources to workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.

Source: Wise BusinessWare  http://www.wisebusinessware.com

 

Mid-Year Review of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program.

osha-inspections

Mid-year review of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program.

Under the Site-Specific Targeting 2014 Program (SST-14), OSHA has issued its annual inspection plan. After analyzing data collected from a survey of 80,000 establishments, the plan is directing enforcement resources to workplaces focusing on reducing injuries and illnesses.

OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting program is one of their main programmed inspection plans for non-construction workplaces with 20 or more workers. Also implemented by OSHA are 13 National Emphasis Programs (NEP) and approximately 140 Regional and Local Emphasis Programs that intensify inspections of industries or hazards.

OSHA’s SST-14 Program will require area offices to inspect facilities that meet one or more of the following criteria as outlined in their Primary Inspection List:

  • Manufacturing establishments that meet a Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) rating of 7.0 or above.
  • Manufacturing establishments that meet a Days Away from Work Injury and Illness (DAFWII) case rating of 5.0 or above.
  • Nonmanufacturing establishments that meet a DART rating of 15.0 or above.
  • Nonmanufacturing establishments that meet a DAFWII case rating of 14.0 or above.

Once all of the inspections from the Primary Inspection List have been completed by an area office, it can proceed with inspections of facilities that meet one or more of the following criteria as outlined in the Secondary Inspection List:

  • Manufacturing establishments that meet a DART rating of 5.0 or above.
  • Manufacturing establishments that meet a DAFWII case rating of 4.0 or above.
  • Nonmanufacturing establishments that meet a DART rating of 7.0 or above.
  • Nonmanufacturing establishments that meet a DAFWII case rating of 5.0 or above.

If an area office completes all inspections on the Secondary Inspection List, the area office will move on to the Regional and Local Emphasis Programs for further inspections. The establishments to be inspected will have a DART rating of 3.6 or higher or a DAFWII case rating of 2.2 or higher.

OSHA’s ongoing 13 National Emphasis Programs are:

Combustible Dust (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-008)

  • Federal Agencies (OSHA Notice 13-02 (FAP 01)
  • Hazardous Machinery (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-003)
  • Hexavalent Chromium (OSHA Instruction CPL 02-02-076)
  • Isocyanates (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-017)
  • Lead (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-009)
  • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-016)
  • Primary Metal industries (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-013)
  • Process Safety Management (OSHA Instructions CPL 03-00-014, CPL 03-00-010)
  • Shipbreaking (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-012)
  • Silica (OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-007)
  • Trenching and Excavation (OSHA Instruction CPL 02-00-069)

The plan is based on survey data and is systematically directing enforcement resources to workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses.

Source: Wise BusinessWare  http://www.wisebusinessware.com

 

 

Forklift Safety – “Are Your Employees Trained Properly?”

Note: This video may sound and seem funny, but it’s not, these are dangerous acts and accidents!

Frequently Asked Questions about Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training


The powered industrial truck operator training requirements apply to all industries where trucks are being used, except agricultural operations.

1. What is the definition of a powered industrial truck?

Any mobile power-propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack or tier materials. Powered industrial trucks can be ridden or controlled by a walking operator. Earth moving and over the road haulage trucks are not included in the definition. Equipment that was designed to move earth but has been modified to accept forks are also not included.

2. What does the standard require?

The standard requires employers to develop and implement a training program based on the general principles of safe truck operation, the types of vehicle(s) being used in the workplace, the hazards of the workplace created by the use of the vehicle(s), and the general safety requirements of the OSHA standard. Trained operators must know how to do the job properly and do it safely as demonstrated by workplace evaluation. Formal (lecture, video, etc.) and practical (demonstration and practical exercises) training must be provided. Employers must also certify that each operator has received the training and evaluate each operator at least once every three years. Prior to operating the truck in the workplace, the employer must evaluate the operator’s performance and determine the operator to be competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely. Refresher training is needed whenever an operator demonstrates a deficiency in the safe operation of the truck.

3. Does OSHA provide a list of topics to include in my training program?

Yes. The standard provides a list of training topics; however, the employer may exclude those topics which are not relevant to safe operation at the employee’s work location.

4. Who should conduct the training?

All training and evaluation must be conducted by persons with the necessary knowledge, training, and experience to train powered industrial truck operators and evaluate their competence. An example of a qualified trainer would be a person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience has demonstrated the ability to train and evaluate powered industrial truck operators.

There are many resources available to the employer if he/she chooses not to perform the training himself. Truck manufacturers, local safety and health safety organizations, such as the National Safety Council local chapters, private consultants with expertise in powered industrial trucks, local trade and vocational schools are some available resources.

Various Internet sites are devoted to forklift safety. Private companies who provide forklift safety training services, including videos and written programs, can be located on various Internet websites. Most videos can be either leased or purchased. One important thing to remember is that simply by showing employees a video or videos on some aspect of forklift safety does not meet the full requirements of the OSHA standard. Site specific information must be conveyed as well as a method to evaluate the employee’s acquired knowledge subsequent to the training.

5. If my employees receive training from an outside consultant, how will I know that these employees have been adequately trained?

Outside qualified training organizations can provide evidence that the employee has successfully completed the relevant classroom and practical training. However, each employer must ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate a truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation.

6. My employees receive training from the union on the use of powered industrial trucks. Will I have to provide any additional training?

When a worker reports to work, the employer must evaluate the employee to ensure that he/she is knowledgeable about the operation of the powered industrial trucks he/she will be assigned to operate. This evaluation could be as simple as having a person with the requisite skills, knowledge and experience observe the operator performing several typical operations to ensure that the truck is being operated safely and asking the operator a few questions related to the safe operation of the vehicle. If the operator has operated the same type of equipment before in the same type of environment that he/she will be expected to be working, then duplicative or additional training is not required.

7. Is testing required?

No. The standard does not specifically require testing; however, some method of evaluation is necessary.

8. Does OSHA require the employer to issue licenses to employees who have received training?

No. The OSHA standard does not require employees to be licensed. An employer may choose to issue licenses to trained operators.

9. What type of records or documentation must I keep?

The OSHA standard requires that the employer certify that each operator has received the training and has been evaluated. The written certification record must include the name of the operator, the date of the training, the date of the evaluation, and the identify of the person(s) performing the training or evaluation.

10. How long must I keep the certification records?

Employers who evaluate the operator’s performance more frequently than every three years may retain the most recent certification record; otherwise, certification records must be maintained for three years.

11. If my employees receive training, but accidents still continue to occur, what should I do?

Refresher training in relevant topics is necessary when the operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident.

12. Is annual training required?

No. An evaluation of each powered industrial truck operator’s performance is required to be conducted after initial training, after refresher training, and at least once every three years.

13. How often must refresher training be given?

The standard does not require any specific frequency of refresher training. Refresher training must be provided when:

  1. The operator has been observed to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
  2. The operator has been involved in an accident or near-miss incident.
  3. The operator has received an evaluation that reveals that the operator is not operating the truck safely.
  4. The operator is assigned to drive a different type of truck.
  5. A condition in the workplace changes in a manner that could affect safety operation of the truck.

14. If my employees have already received training, or have been operating trucks for many years, must I retrain them?

No. An employer does not need to retrain an employee in the operation of a powered industrial truck if the employer certifies that the operator has been evaluated and has proven to be competent to operate the truck safely. The operator would need additional training in those elements where his or her performance indicates the need for further training and for new types of equipment and areas of operation.

15. How do I evaluate my employee’s competency to operate a truck safely?

Evaluation of an operator’s performance can be determined by a number of ways, such as:

  • a discussion with the employee
  • an observation of the employee operating the powered industrial truck
  • written documentation of previous training
  • a performance test

16. Does OSHA provide training to my truck operators?

No. It is the employer’s responsibility to train the employees.

17. Do I have to train all employees in my workplace?

Any employee that operates a powered industrial truck must be trained.

18. Do I have to ensure that my operator’s are physically capable of driving a powered industry truck?

The new standard does not contain provisions for checking vision, hearing or general medical status of employees operating powered industrial trucks. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) addresses the issue of whether employers may impose physical qualifications upon employees or applicants for employment. The ADA permits employers to adopt medical qualification requirements which are necessary to assure that an individual does not pose a “direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals in the workplace” provided all reasonable efforts are made to accommodate otherwise qualified individuals.

19. I have three different types of trucks in my workplace. Can I provide training on just one type of truck?

If an operator will be expected to operate all three types of vehicles, then training must address the unique characteristics of each type of vehicle the employee is expected to operate. When an attachment is used on the truck to move odd-shaped materials, then the operator training must include instruction on the safe conduct of those operations so that the operator knows and understands the restrictions or limitations created by each vehicle’s use.

20. I only have powered hand trucks in my workplace. Do the training requirements cover the operators of this type of vehicle? The operator walks alongside the unit while holding onto the handle to guide it.

Yes. The use of powered hand trucks present numerous hazards to employees who operate them and those working in the area where they are used.

21. I employ drivers from a temporary agency. Who provides them training – the temporary service or me?

OSHA has issued several letters of interpretations on the subject of training of temporary employees. Basically, there is a shared responsibility for assuring employees are adequately trained. The responsibility for providing training should be spelled out in the contractual agreement between the two parties. The temporary agency or the contracting employer may conduct the training and evaluation of operators from a temporary agency as required by the standard; however, the host employer (or other employer who enters into a contract with the temporary agency) must provide site-specific information and training on the use of the particular types of trucks and workplace-related topics that are present in the workplace.

22. Should my training include the use of operator restraint devices (e.g. seat belts)?

Employers are required to train employees in all operating instructions, warnings, and precautions listed in the operator’s manual for the type of vehicle which the employee is being trained to operate. Therefore, operators must be trained in the use of operator restraint systems when it is addressed in the operating instructions.

23. What does OSHA expect to achieve as a result of improved operator’s training?

OSHA’s goal is to reduce the number of injuries and illnesses that occur to workers in the workplace from unsafe powered industrial truck usage. By providing an effective training program many other benefits will result. Among these are the lower cost of compensation insurance, less property damage, and less product damage.

24. Where can I get additional information about OSHA standards?

For more information, contact your local or Regional OSHA office (listed in the telephone directory under United States Government – Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration). OSHA also has a Home Page on the Internet.

 

Behavioral Safety Minute: The Power of Peer-to-Peer Feedback

When it comes to safe and unsafe behaviors in the workplace, employees on the front-line are often uncomfortable giving peer to peer feedback. Some likely feel it isn’t their place to speak up, while others may think it won’t be effective. 

In our latest Behavioral Minute, ADI senior consultant, Bart Sevin, identifies the benefits of coworkers speaking up. Since frequent, timely feedback is most effective in changing performance, it’s those closest to you that are often in a better position to provide valuable feedback;  even more effective than your supervisor or manager.

Source: Aubrey Daniels : http://aubreydaniels.com/safety-solutions

OSHA “I2P2” Delayed Until September, 2014

osha-logo

 

I2P2 Powerpoint <—- Download Here!

OSHA I2P2 White Paper  <—– Download PDF File Here

Update:

RIN Data
DOL/OSHA RIN: 1218-AC48 Publication ID: Fall 2013
Title: Injury and Illness Prevention Program
Abstract: OSHA is developing a rule requiring employers to implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. It involves planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving processes and activities that protect employee safety and health. OSHA has substantial data on reductions in injuries and illnesses from employers who have implemented similar effective processes. The Agency currently has voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines (54 FR 3904 to 3916), published in 1989. An injury and illness prevention program rule would build on these guidelines as well as lessons learned from successful approaches and best practices under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, and similar industry and international initiatives such as American National Standards Institute/American Industrial Hygiene Association Z10 and Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series 18001.
Agency: Department of Labor(DOL) Priority: Economically Significant
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage
Major: Undetermined Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined
CFR Citation: Not Yet Determined (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: 29 USC 653; 29 USC 655(b); 29 USC 657
Legal Deadline:  None
Timetable:

Action Date FR Cite
Stakeholder Meetings 06/03/2010 75 FR 35360 and 75 FR 23637
Initiate SBREFA 01/06/2012
NPRM 09/00/2014
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes Government Levels Affected: Undetermined
Small Entities Affected: Businesses Federalism: Undetermined
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes
Agency Contact:
William Perry
Acting Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance
Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-3718,
Washington, DC 20210
Phone:202 693-1950
Fax:202 693-1678
Email: perry.bill@dol.gov

Introduction/Executive Summary

Image of workers An injury and illness prevention program,1 is a proactive process to help employers find and fix workplace hazards before workers are hurt. We know these programs can be effective at reducing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Many workplaces have already adopted such approaches, for example as part of OSHA‘s cooperative programs. Not only do these employers experience dramatic decreases in workplace injuries, but they often report a transformed workplace culture that can lead to higher productivity and quality, reduced turnover, reduced costs, and greater employee satisfaction.

Thirty-four states and many nations around the world already require or encourage employers to implement such programs. The key elements common to all of these programs are management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement.

Based on the positive experience of employers with existing programs, OSHA believes that injury and illness prevention programs provide the foundation for breakthrough changes in the way employers identify and control hazards, leading to a significantly improved workplace health and safety environment. Adoption of an injury and illness prevention program will result in workers suffering fewer injuries, illnesses and fatalities. In addition, employers will improve their compliance with existing regulations, and will experience many of the financial benefits of a safer and healthier workplace cited in published studies and reports by individual companies, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums.

Background

In the four decades since the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) was signed into law, workplace deaths and reported occupational injuries have dropped by more than 60 percent. Yet the nation’s workers continue to face an unacceptable number of work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses, most of them preventable:

  • Every day, more than 12 workers die on the job – over 4,500 a year.
  • Every year, more than 4.1 million workers suffer a serious job-related injury or illness.

An enhanced focus on prevention is needed to bring these numbers down. To accomplish this, an effective, flexible, commonsense tool is available that can dramatically reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses: the injury and illness prevention program. This tool helps employers find hazards and fix them before injuries, illnesses or deaths occur. It helps employers meet their obligation under the OSH Act to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” It also helps employers avoid the significant costs associated with injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

Injury and illness prevention programs are not new, nor are they untested. Most large companies whose safety and health achievements have been recognized through government or industry awards cite their use of injury and illness prevention programs as their key to success. Convinced of the value, effectiveness, and feasibility of these programs, many countries around the world now require employers to implement and maintain them. These countries include Canada, Australia, all 27 European Union member states, Norway, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. This initiative also follows the lead of 15 U.S. states that have already implemented regulations requiring such programs.

How Does an Injury and Illness Prevention Program Work?

Most successful injury and illness prevention programs include a similar set of commonsense elements that focus on finding all hazards in the workplace and developing a plan for preventing and controlling those hazards. Management leadership and active worker participation are essential to ensuring that all hazards are identified and addressed. Finally, workers need to be trained about how the program works and the program needs to be periodically evaluated to determine whether improvements need to be made.

These basic elements – management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification and assessment, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement – are common to almost all existing health and safety management programs. Each element is important in ensuring the success of the overall program, and the elements are interrelated and interdependent.

When it comes to injury and illness prevention programs, every business is different, and one size certainly does not fit all. Employers who implement injury and illness prevention programs scale and adapt these elements to meet the needs of their organizations, depending on size, industry sector or complexity of operations.

What Are the Costs of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses and Deaths to Employers, Workers and the Nation?

The main goal of injury and illness prevention programs is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths, the suffering these events cause workers, and the financial hardship they cause both workers and employers.

Workplace incidents cause an enormous amount of physical, financial and emotional hardship for individual workers and their families. Combined with insufficient workers’ compensation benefits and inadequate medical insurance, workplace injuries and illnesses can not only cause physical pain and suffering but also loss of employment and wages, burdensome debt, inability to maintain a previous standard of living, loss of home ownership and even bankruptcy. When implemented effectively, injury and illness prevention programs can help workers and their families avoid these disruptive and sometimes calamitous impacts on their lives.

Image - Cost of the Most Disabling Injuries 1998-2008 Chart At the same time, these programs will help employers avoid the substantial cost impacts and business disruptions that accompany occupational injuries, illnesses and deaths. One widely-cited source regarding estimates of the magnitude of these costs is the Liberty Mutual Research Institute, which reports the direct cost of the most disabling workplace injuries in 2008 to be $53 billion (Liberty Mutual Research Institute, 2010).2 Another source, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), estimates the annual workers’ compensation benefits paid for all compensable injuries and illnesses in 2009 at $58 billion (National Academy of Social Insurance, 2011). NASI further reports the total costs paid by employers for workers’ compensation increased from $60 billion in 2000 to $74 billion in 2009.

In addition to these direct costs, employers incur a variety of other costs that may be hidden or less obvious when an employee is injured or ill, but in most cases involve real expenditures of budget or time. These expenditures are commonly referred to as indirect costs and can include:

  • Any wages paid to injured workers for absences not covered by workers’ compensation;
  • The wage costs related to time lost through work stoppage;
  • Administrative time spent by supervisors following injuries;
  • Employee training and replacement costs;
  • Lost productivity related to new employee learning curves and accommodation of injured employees; and
  • Replacement costs of damaged material, machinery and property.

OSHA has historically used the results of one study (Stanford University, 1981) that found the indirect costs can range from 1.1 (for the most severe injuries) to 4.5 (for the least severe injuries) times the direct costs.3

“Establishing safety as a value rather than a priority tells our employees and our customers that safety is built into our culture, not something we do to merely comply with regulations.

Our excellent safety performance over the past seven years has been a key factor in reducing our insurance cost. Our low EMR [Experience Modification Rate], incidents rates, and SHARP Management System have impressed our customers and, in many cases, was a key factor in selecting Parsons to perform their project.”

Charles L. Harrington, Chairman & CEO, Parsons Corp.

Source: National Safety Council.

When workers are killed, are injured or become ill, there are substantial costs beyond those borne by employers. A variety of approaches can be used to estimate these costs. For example, Viscusi and Aldy (2003) provided estimates of the monetary value of each life lost. OSHA updated these estimates (to account for inflation) to 2010 dollars, yielding a value of $8.7 million for each life lost. Multiplying this value by the 4,547 workplace deaths reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010, OSHA estimates the annual cost of known workplace fatalities to be nearly $40 billion.

This estimate does not include the cost of non-fatal injuries, or of occupational illnesses like cancer and lung disease. These illnesses generally may occur many years or even decades after workers are exposed and are therefore seldom recorded in government statistics or employer surveillance activities.

The human and economic costs of these conditions are indisputably enormous. Leigh et al. (1997) estimated that more than 60,000 workers die each year from occupational illnesses, and more than 850,000 develop new illnesses annually. Similarly, Steenland et al. (2003) estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 workers die each year from cancer due to occupational exposures, and between 5,000 and 24,000 die from work-related Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

In summary, the number and costs of workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities are unacceptably high. Injury and illness prevention programs have been proven to help employers and society reduce the personal, financial and societal costs that injuries, illnesses and fatalities impose. As described below, the thousands of workplaces that have implemented these programs in some form have already witnessed the resulting benefits, in the form of higher efficiency, greater worker productivity and lower costs.

What Is the Evidence that Injury and Illness Prevention Programs Protect Workers and Improve the “Bottom Line”?

Image - Top Benetits of Effective Workplace Safety Programs ChartNumerous studies have examined the effectiveness of injury and illness prevention programs at both the establishment and corporate levels (e.g., Alsop and LeCouteur, 1999; Bunn et al., 2001; Conference Board, 2003; Huang et al., 2009; Lewchuk, Robb, and Walters, 1996; Smitha et al., 2001; Torp et al., 2000; Yassi, 1998). This research demonstrates that such programs are effective in transforming workplace culture; leading to reductions in injuries, illnesses and fatalities; lowering workers’ compensation and other costs; improving morale and communication; enhancing image and reputation; and improving processes, products and services. The studies also highlight important characteristics of effective programs, including management commitment and leadership, effective employee participation, integration of health and safety with business planning and continuous program evaluation. They suggest that programs without these features are not as effective (Shannon et al., 1996, 1997; Gallagher, 2001; Gallagher et al., 2003; Liu et al., 2008).

One study (Smitha et al., 2001) focused on manufacturing facilities in 13 states with mandatory injury and illness prevention programs and/or mandatory health and safety committee requirements. The authors found that both types of regulations were effective in reducing injury and illness incidence rates. Three of the four states with only safety and health program requirements experienced the greatest reductions in injury and illness rates following promulgation of these mandatory program regulations.

OSHA examined the injury and illness prevention programs in eight states where the state had either required a program or provided incentives or requirements through its workers’ compensation programs. The successes of these state programs, which lowered injury and illness incidences by 9 percent to more than 60 percent, are discussed below: Source: Huang et al., 2009. Data based on responses from 231 U.S. companies with 100 or more employees.

  • Alaska had an injury and illness plan requirement for over 20 years (1973 to 1995). Five years after the program was implemented, the net decrease in injuries and illnesses (i.e., the statewide reduction in injuries and illnesses over and above the national decrease during the same time period) for Alaska was 17.4 percent.
  • California began to require an injury and illness prevention program in 1991. Five years after this requirement began, California had a net decrease in injuries and illnesses of 19 percent.
  • Colorado has a program that allows firms to adopt basic injury and illness prevention program components in return for a workers’ compensation premium reduction. The cumulative annual reduction in accidents was 23 percent and the cumulative reduction in accident costs was between 58 and 62 percent.
  • Hawaii began to require employers to have injury and illness prevention programs in 1985. The net reduction in injuries and illnesses was 20.7 percent.
  • Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation program firms receive a premium credit for enrolling in a loss management program. In the first year of this program, firms participating in the program had a 20.8 percent improvement in their loss ratios.
  • North Dakota has a program under its workers’ compensation program for employers who have a risk management program. The incentive is a 5 percent discount on annual workers’ compensation premiums. These risk management programs contain many of the elements of an injury and illness prevention program. They resulted in a cumulative decline for serious injuries of 38 percent over a four-year period.
  • Texas had a program under its workers’ compensation commission from 1991 to 2005 which identified the most hazardous workplaces. Those employers were required to develop and implement injury and illness prevention programs. The reduction in injuries, over a four-year period (1992-1995), averaged 63 percent each year.
  • Washington began requiring establishments to have injury and illness prevention programs in 1973. Five years later the net decrease in injuries and illnesses was 9.4 percent.

OSHA also examined fatality rates and found that California, Hawaii and Washington, with their mandatory injury and illness prevention program requirements, had workplace fatality rates as much as 31 percent below the national average in 2009.

Liu et al. (2008) examined the effectiveness of Pennsylvania’s voluntary program that provides workers’ compensation premium discounts to employers that establish joint labor-management safety committees. These committees are responsible for implementing several injury and illness prevention program elements: hazard identification, workplace inspection and safety management. The authors found that among program participants there was a strong association between improved injury and illness experience and the level of compliance with the program requirements. This is further evidence that programs with strong management commitment and active worker participation are effective in reducing injury risk, while “paper” programs are, not surprisingly, ineffective.

There are many benefits from developing a safety culture at your company – none of which is more valuable than employee loyalty. When employees know you care about their personal well-being and you prove that to them in their workplace, it increases morale, engagement, awareness, motivation and productivity.”

Daniel R. Nobbe, Plant Leader, Fiberteq LLC, Danville, IL.

Source: National Safety Council.

The literature on injury and illness prevention programs also includes numerous studies that attempt to identify the critical success features associated with superior health and safety performance. Gallagher (2001) concludes that management commitment and employee involvement are the keys to program success: “[R]ecurring findings across these studies were the critical role played by senior managers in successful health and safety management systems, and the importance of effective communication, employee involvement and consultation.”

Worker participation, a fundamental element of injury and illness prevention programs, makes an important contribution to an employer’s bottom line. When workers are encouraged to offer their ideas and they see their contributions being taken seriously, they tend to be more satisfied and more productive (Huang et al., 2006). Engaging employees in dialogue with management and each other about safety and health can lead to improved relationships and better overall communication, along with reduced injury rates. Improved employee morale and satisfaction translates to greater loyalty, lower absenteeism and higher productivity.

This body of research, combined with studies of individual companies (see boxes, below, with Case Studies of Programs Implemented under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP)) demonstrate clearly that injury and illness prevention programs are effective at the establishment level in dramatically reducing risk of workplace injury. This effect has also been detected in state-wide comparisons.

Based on its review of the literature on the effectiveness of these programs and on the experience of the states that have implemented injury and illness prevention program requirements, OSHA estimates that implementation of injury and illness prevention programs will reduce injuries by 15 percent to 35 percent for employers who do not now have safety and health programs. At the 15 percent program effectiveness level, this saves $9 billion per year in workers’ compensation costs; at the 35 percent effectiveness level the savings are $23 billion per year.4 In addition to these workers’ compensation savings, employers could also save indirect costs incurred when an employee is injured or ill. Beyond the monetized benefits of injuries and illnesses averted, and lives saved, nonmonetized costs of workplace injuries and deaths include uncompensated lost wages, the loss of human capital assets, the loss of productivity, the cost of other government benefits required by injured workers or their survivors, the loss of government tax revenues, other business expenses, and other losses not compensated by workers’ compensation or other insurance.

How Widespread are Injury and Illness Prevention Programs?

Photo: Elena Finizio, Braintree, MA Area Office
Photo: Elena Finizio, Braintree, MA Area Office

Employers across the United States have implemented injury and illness prevention programs, and many jurisdictions, in the United States and abroad, currently require or encourage implementation of these programs. Currently, 34 U.S. states have established laws or regulations designed to require or encourage injury and illness prevention programs, including 15 states with mandatory regulations for all or some employers.5 Other states, while not requiring programs, have created financial incentives for employers to implement injury and illness prevention programs. In some instances this involves providing – or facilitating – workers’ compensation insurance premium reductions for employers who establish programs meeting specified requirements. And 16 states, in all three of these groups, provide an array of voluntary guidance, consultation and training programs, and other assistance aimed at helping and encouraging employers to implement injury and illness prevention programs. Depending on the state, these programs apply to all employers, employers above or below a certain size threshold, employers with injury and illness rates above industry average, employers in “high-hazard” industries or employers with above-average workers’ compensation experience modification rates.

The more than 2,400 establishments that belong to OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program have programs that are based on the same core elements found in the injury and illness prevention program that OSHA will be proposing. The same is true for OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, in which more than 1,500 smaller employers are enrolled. Each year, dozens of organizations seeking international recognition for their safety and health program proudly submit applications to the National Safety Council for the Robert W. Campbell award (see text box). Case studies of past winners are available on the Campbell Award website.

Recognizing Business Excellence in Safety and Health

The Robert W. Campbell Award recognizes organizations that achieve business excellence by integrating environmental, health and safety (EHS) management into their business operating systems. The Award aims to:

  • Recognize businesses that uphold EHS as a key business value and link measurable achievement in EHS performance to productivity and profitability.
  • Establish a validated process by which industries can measure the performance of their EHS operations system against well-tested and internationally accepted key performance indicators.
  • Use a rigorous systematic review process to capture and evaluate the successes and lessons learned.
  • Share leading edge EHS management systems and best practices for educational purposes worldwide.

The Award program is supported by a network of 22 Global Partners across five continents committed to promoting EHS as an integral component of business management worldwide.

Source: www.campbellaward.org.

There are at least two industry consensus standards for injury and illness prevention programs. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) have published a voluntary consensus standard, ANSI/AIHA Z10 – 2005 Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (ANSI/AIHA, 2005). The Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) Project Group, a consortium of selected Registrars, national standards bodies, professional associations and research institutes, has produced a similar document, OHSAS 18001 – 2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSAS Project Group, 2007). These consensus-based standards have been widely accepted in the world of commerce and adopted by many businesses on a voluntary basis.

Canada, Australia and all members of the European Union operate programs that either require employers to adopt injury and illness prevention programs, or provide incentives or recognition to those who do so. For example, under the 1989 EU Framework Directive (89/391), EU member countries must have national legislation in place requiring employers to maintain risk identification and prevention programs that are very similar to OSHA’s injury and illness prevention program concept (European Union, 1989). U.S. companies operating internationally are familiar with these requirements and have already put in place their own programs to meet these requirements. Finally, many private workers’ compensation carriers offer incentives to employers who have injury and illness prevention programs and provide technical assistance to help them implement their programs.

Photo: Frank Wenzel, Washington DOSH

Photo: Frank Wenzel, Washington DOSH

The United States Departments of Defense (DOD) and Energy (DOE) have both adopted this approach for protecting workers employed or stationed at the nation’s military installations and nuclear weapons factories, including DOE’s high hazard establishments. The success of DOD’s program is described in the box below. DOE’s program, entitled Integrated Safety Management, includes an expectation that the facilities will “embrace a strong safety culture where safe performance of work and involvement of workers in all aspects of work performance are core values that are deeply, strongly, and consistently held by managers and workers.” According to DOE, the aspects of this safety culture that impact safety performance are Leadership, Employee/Worker Involvement and Organizational Learning (DOE, 2011).

Despite the value to employers and workers in terms of injuries prevented and dollars saved, many U.S. workplaces have not yet adopted injury and illness prevention programs. Based on the positive experience of employers with existing programs, OSHA believes that injury and illness prevention programs provide the foundation for breakthrough changes in the way employers identify and control hazards, leading to significantly improved workplace health and safety environments. Adoption of injury and illness prevention program will result in workers suffering fewer injuries, illnesses and fatalities. In addition, employers will improve their compliance with existing regulations, and will experience many of the financial benefits of a safer and healthier workplace described in the literature and in reports by individual companies.

Are Injury and Illness Prevention Programs Too Complicated and Expensive for Small Businesses?

For many small businesses, establishing an injury and illness prevention program may seem daunting. Any program based on formal structures can be difficult to establish in a small organization because of tight budgets. Yet simple, low-cost approaches have been shown to be effective in small businesses (Hasle and Limborg, 2006). Injury and illness prevention programs lend themselves to such low-cost approaches because they are highly flexible – the core elements can be implemented at a basic level suitable for the smallest business, as well as at a more advanced, structured level that may be needed in a larger, more complex organization.

OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), which recognizes small employers that operate exemplary injury and illness prevention programs, provides compelling evidence that such programs can and do work for small businesses. For example, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (2011) analyzed the policies of 16 SHARP employers over a 12-year period from 1999 to 2010. The study compared the employers’ experience prior to and after achieving entry into the SHARP program. The preliminary results of the study show that the average number of claims for these employers decreased by 52 percent, the average claim cost decreased by 80 percent, the average lost time per claim decreased by 87 percent, and claims (per million dollars of payroll) decreased by 88 percent.

An internal OSHA study of nine SHARP firms, ranging in size from 15 to 160 employees, found that the firms achieved the following as a result of their programs:

  • A reduction in the number of injuries and illnesses.
  • Improved compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Improved business and cost savings including reduced workers’ compensation premiums, reduced administrative and human resources burden associated with filing injury and illness reports, managing workers’ compensation cases and training new employees. The companies also experienced improved efficiency in operations and material use, and improved productivity. They were able to leverage their limited health and safety resources.
  • An improved workplace environment with greater collective responsibility for workplace health and safety.
  • Improved reputation and image in the community including relationships and cooperation between employers and OSHA, between employers and employees, and among employers in the business community.

Conclusions

  • Despite the combined efforts of employers, workers, unions, safety professionals and regulators, more than 4,500 workers lose their lives and more than four million are seriously injured each year. Tens of thousands more die or are incapacitated because of occupational illnesses including many types of cancer and lung disease. The human toll from this loss is incalculable and the economic toll is enormous.
  • Many employers in the U.S. have been slow to adopt a workplace “safety culture” that emphasizes planning and carrying out work in the safest way possible.
  • Injury and illness prevention programs are based on proven managerial concepts that have been widely used in industry to bring about improvements in quality, environment and safety, and health performance. Effective injury and illness prevention programs emphasize top-level ownership of the program, participation by employees, and a “find and fix” approach to workplace hazards.
  • Injury and illness prevention programs need not be resource-intensive and can be adapted to meet the needs of any size organization.
Photo: Roberto Rodriguez, Mesquite, Texas

Photo: Roberto Rodriguez, Mesquite, Texas

OSHA believes that adoption of injury and illness prevention programs based on simple, sound, proven principles will help millions of U.S. businesses improve their compliance with existing laws and regulations, decrease the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses, reduce costs (including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums) and enhance their overall business operations.

References

Alsop, P. & LeCouteur, M. (1999). Measurable success from implementing an integrated OHS management system at Manningham City Council. Journal of Occupational Health & Safety – Australia & New Zealand, 15, 565–572.

Angello, J. (2010). A journey to improved safety performance. The Leader, 19(3), 27-29.

ANSI/AIHA (2005). American National Standard – Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. ANSI/AIHA Z10–2005.

Bunn, W. B. et al. (2001). Health, safety, and productivity in a manufacturing environment. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 43(1), 47-55.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2010). Table A-1. Fatal occupational injuries by industry and event or exposure, All United States, 2010. Available at: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0241.pdf*

Conference Board. (2003). Driving toward “0”: Best practices in corporate safety and health.

DOE, (2011). U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Health, Safety and Security. A basic overview of Integrated Safety Management.

European Union, (1989). Council Directive of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work. (89/391/EEC).

Gallagher, C. (2001). New directions: Innovative management plus safe place. In W. Pearse, C. Gallagher, & L. Bluff, (eds.) Occupational health & safety management systems: Proceedings of the first national conference (pp. 65-82).

Gallagher, C. et al. (2003). Occupational safety and health management systems in Australia: Barriers to success. Policy and Practice in Health and Safety 1(2), 67-81.

Hasle, P. & Limborg, H. (2006). A review of the literature on preventive occupational health and safety activities in small enterprises. Industrial Health 44(1), 6-12.

Huang, Y. H. et al. (2006). Safety climate and self-reported injury: Assessing the mediating role of employee safety control. Accident Analysis and Prevention 38(3), 425-33.

Huang, Y. H. et al. (2009). Financial decision-makers’ views on safety: What SH&E professionals should know. Professional Safety (April), 36-42.

Leigh, J. P. et al. (1997). Occupational injury and illness in the United States: Estimates of costs, morbidity, and mortality. Annals of Industrial Medicine 157(14), 1557-1568.

Lewchuk, W., Robb, A., & Walters, V. (1996). The Effectiveness of Bill 70 and Joint Health and Safety Committees in Reducing Injuries in the Workplace: The Case of Ontario. Canadian Public Policy, 22, 225-243.

Liberty Mutual Research Institute. (2010). 2010 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index.

Liu, H. et al. (2008). The Pennsylvania Certified Safety Committee Program: An Evaluation of Participation and Effects on Work Injury Rates. RAND Working Paper WR-594-PA.

National Academy of Social Insurance. (2011). Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2009.

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. (2011). Ohio 21(d) SHARP Program Performance Assessment.

OHSAS Project Group. (2007). Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements. OHSAS 18001:2007. Published as a British Standards Institute standard.

Shannon, H. et al. (1996). Workplace organizational correlates of lost-time accident rates in manufacturing. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 29(3), 258-268.

Shannon, H. et al. (1997). Overview of the relationship between organizational and workplace factors and injury rates. Safety Science, 26, 201-217.

Smitha, M.W. et al. (2001). Effect of state workplace safety laws on occupational injury rates. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 43(12), 1001-1010.

Stanford University. (1981). Improving construction safety performance: The user’s role (Technical report No. 260). Department of Civil Engineering.

Steenland, K. et al. (2003). Dying for Work: The Magnitude of US Mortality from Selected Causes of Death Associated with Occupation. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 43, 461-482.

Torp, S. et al. (2000). Systematic health, environment, and safety activities: Do they influence occupational environment, behavior and health? Occupational Medicine, 50(5), 326-333.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Corporate Safety Analysis. (2009a). Occupational Medicine Newsletter. Corporate safety: Health & safety is working!

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS). (2009b). A basic overview of the worker safety and health program (10 CFR 851). Outreach & Awareness Series to Advance DOE Mission.

Viscusi, W. & Aldy, J. (2003). The value of a statistical life: A critical review of market estimates throughout the world. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 27, 5-76.

Yassi, A. (1998). Utilizing Data Systems to Develop and Monitor Occupational Health Programs in a Large Canadian Hospital. Methods of Information and Medicine, 37, 125-129.


Footnotes:

Footnote 1: The occupational safety and health community uses various names to describe systematic approaches to reducing injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Consensus and international standards use the term Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems; OSHA currently uses the term Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and others use Safety and Health Programs to describe these types of systems. Regardless of the title, they all systematically address workplace safety and health hazards on an ongoing basis to reduce the extent and severity of work-related injuries and illnesses.

Footnote 2: The “most disabling” injuries are defined by Liberty Mutual as those causing the injured employee to miss six or more days from work.

Footnote 3: For more details see OSHA’s Safety and Health Management Systems eTool, available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/safetyhealth/mod1_costs.html.

Footnote 4: If injury and illness prevention programs achieve a 15 percent reduction in injuries and illnesses for employers who do not currently have safety and health programs, the overall reduction in injuries and illnesses for all employers including those that already have programs is estimated at 12.4 percent. Applying this 12.4 percent to NASI’s estimate of the $74 billion in direct workers’ compensation costs in 2009, workers’ compensation savings could be as high as $9 billion per year. With a 35 percent program effectiveness, the overall reduction in injuries and illnesses for all employers is estimated at 30.8 percent and workers’ compensation savings could reach $23 billion per year.

Footnote 5: The 15 states are: Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

Additional Information Can Be Found Here: http://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/safetyhealth/

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