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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 Respiratory Protection Standard To Add Two Additional Fit-Testing Protocols”

OSHA Trade ReleaseDOL Logo


U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Communications
Washington, D.C.
www.osha.gov
For Immediate Release

 

October 6, 2016
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA proposes to amend respiratory protection standard to add
two additional fit-testing protocols

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to add two quantitative fit-testing protocols to the agency’s Respiratory Protection Standard. The protocols would apply to employers in the general, shipyard and construction industries.

Appendix A of the standard contains mandatory respirator fit-testing methods that employers must use to ensure their employees’ respirators fit properly and protect the wearer. The standard also allows individuals to submit new fit-test protocols for OSHA approval. TSI Incorporated submitted an application for new protocols for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and filtering facepiece respirators.

The existing standard contains mandatory testing methods to ensure that employees’ respirators fit properly and are protective. The standard also states that additional fit-test protocols may be submitted for OSHA approval. TSI Incorporated submitted an application for new protocols for full-facepiece and half-mask elastomeric respirators, and filtering facepiece respirators. The proposed protocols are variations of the existing OSHA-accepted PortaCount® protocol, but differ from it by the exercise sets, exercise duration, and sampling sequence.

The agency invites the public to comment on the accuracy and reliability of the proposed protocols, their effectiveness in detecting respirator leakage, and their usefulness in selecting respirators that will protect employees from airborne contaminants in the workplace. More specific issues for public comment are listed in the Federal Register notice.

Individuals may submit comments electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted by mail or facsimile; see the Federal Register notice for details. The deadline for submitting comments is Dec. 6, 2016.

This proposed rulemaking would allow employers greater flexibility in choosing fit-testing methods for employees. The proposed rule would not require an employer to update or replace current fit-testing methods, as long as the fit-testing method(s) currently in use meet existing standards. The proposal also would not impose additional costs on any private- or public-sector entity.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department’s Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).

“How Would Nick Saban Handle An OSHA Inspection?”

nick-saban-alabama

Lessons for Employers from the Crimson Tide’s Championship Football Coach

September has arrived. That can only mean one thing: it’s time for college football!

Labor Day weekend offered several high-profile games for our viewing pleasure. Number-one ranked Alabama won one of those contests, with the Crimson Tide overwhelming Southern California by the score of 52-6. Alabama looked well-prepared and disciplined in its lopsided victory over a ranked opponent, showing once again why its coach Nick Saban is likely the best in college football.

Coach Saban’s unprecedented success – having won five career national championships, including four out of the last seven – is the result of his unparalleled work ethic and a commitment to excellence even the CEO of a Fortune 500 company would envy. Indeed, his processes transfer well to the corporate world and some companies attempt to mimic what Saban has developed at Alabama. His attention to detail could create a successful environment at any business.

Employers can learn from Saban’s methodical determination to succeed. His model provides employers an example on how to, among many other things, institute programs to handle adversity and challenges that arise in the workplace.

Following Saban’s routine of working hard, staying focused, teaching discipline, and developing character could help any employer prepare for unexpected events like a workplace accident or visit by a government compliance agency, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Given what we know about the habits that led to his success as a football coach, here’s how Saban – if employed as a safety supervisor – might handle the difficult tasks of developing a culture of workplace safety and responding to an OSHA inspection:

Pre-Game Preparation- Before OSHA Arrives

1. Be Prepared. No coach prepares like Nick Saban. Saban rarely loses a game for which he had additional time to prepare. In fact, he has never lost a national championship game, which generally does not take place until several weeks after the end of the regular season. Safety Supervisor Saban would have his company extremely prepared for any government agency visit, including an OSHA inspection. He would take the proactive approach of creating robust safety programs, rigorous training techniques, and a culture of accountability.He would not wait until after OSHA arrived to take these steps.

2. Challenge the (Safety) Program. Coach Saban loves for his team to play top-notch opponents, especially early in the season. Stiff competition challenges his team and only makes it better. He currently employs 21 consultants – in addition to his coaching staff – to analyze the quality of his program at Alabama. Safety Supervisor Saban would have consultants from top safety companies and safety professionals from competitor companies review his safety program and give feedback on how to make it better. He would listen to and learn from these consultants in an effort to develop new techniques and continuously improve safety in his workplace.

First Half – The Opening Conference with OSHA

3. Take Charge and Speak for the (Safety) Team. Coach Saban prohibits his assistant coaches from speaking to the media on behalf of the program. If you have a question about the Alabama football team, you ask Coach Saban. If OSHA arrived for an inspection, Safety Supervisor Saban would instruct his employees not to speak to any OSHA representative until he arrived. OSHA could only meet with the head of the safety program prior to beginning its inspection. This would ensure proper, and knowledgeable communication is delivered on behalf of the company.

4. Know the (OSHA) Rules. Coach Saban understands the rules of college football. In fact, he often questions why other coaches aren’t following them, or why certain rules should be changed. He is a student of the game. Safety Supervisor Saban would know not only the OSHA safety regulations but the procedures OSHA must follow when conducting an inspection. He would understand, for instance, that regardless of the reason OSHA appears at your door, if you consent to the inspection without limiting the review to the stated reason OSHA is there (e.g., hazard alleged in a complaint), most arguments relating to the scope of the inspection are lost. Saban would know what OSHA can and cannot do, and require the agency to follow its procedures.

Second Half – OSHA’s Walk-Through and Interviews

5. (Make OSHA) Focus on the Task at Hand. Coach Saban refuses to allow certain team personnel to speak on the headsets worn by coaches during the game. He believes any additional conversation is unnecessary and a waste of time. He also requires his players to focus on each individual play and attempt to execute it without error. Saban generally prohibits players and coaches from discussing the score at any point during the game. He believes that if you take care of each play, the score will take care of itself. While walking through his facility with OSHA during an inspection, Saban would require OSHA to focus solely on the reason why it is there. If OSHA is there for a complaint on a press machine, OSHA would inspect the press machine- nothing else. There would be no discussion of any other matters.

6. Tell the Truth and Don’t Make Excuses. Coach Saban doesn’t like excuses. Win or lose; he generally gives the other team credit for their excellent play; he doesn’t blame the referees.He also requires his players, to be honest. Saban believes honesty is a crucial character trait. Safety Supervisor Saban would require his employees, to tell the truth, if interviewed by OSHA. If there is a safety issue, he would instruct them to not hide it or make excuses. Honesty is the only policy.

Post-Game – After the Penalties

7. Learn from Mistakes. Saban doesn’t always win. When he loses, however, he allows that experience to be an opportunity to learn. Rarely does Saban lose to the same team twice in one season, or more than one year in a row. If Safety Supervisor Saban received a citation, he may contest it if plausible defenses existed. More importantly, however, he would learn from the experience and rigorously reassess and evaluate his safety program with respect to the alleged hazard in order to improve.

8. Above All, Be Professional. Coach Saban is a professional. He generally refrains from yelling or swearing on the sidelines, and treats others with respect in both victory and defeat. Safety Supervisor Saban would understand that employers and OSHA are on the same page from a mission standpoint. They want to keep employees safe. Being abrasive or unprofessional is not the demeanor that will help accomplish this goal. Saban would realize the importance of remaining cordial throughout the inspection process.

Coach Saban’s success is the product of habits that could produce results on and off the football field. Employers can learn from accomplished leaders like him.

When determining how to improve your safety program, consider what has led to success for others, even if that success occurred outside your industry. Think outside the box. This innovation and critical evaluation will lead to results.

By Travis Vance of Fisher Phillips

“OSHA & ASTM Protective Footwear Requirements”

RedWingBootLARGE

For a little safety footwear humor, click here: http://www.gocomics.com/theargylesweater/2013/10/26

Protective footwear requirements are referenced in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 29. These references can be found in (1910.132) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) General Requirements or (1910.136) Foot Protection.

According to 29 CFR 1910.132, PPE must be used whenever an employer’s workplace hazard assessment determines that hazards that require PPE are present, or are likely to be present.

29 CFR 1910.136 refers to the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) F2412-05 Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection, F2413-05 Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective Footwear and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) American National Standard for Personal Protection – Protective Footwear (ANSI Z41-1999 and Z41-1991) for its performance criteria.

On March 1, 2005, the ANSI Z41 reference was withdrawn and replaced by the ASTM Standards.

On September 9, 2009, OSHA issued an update to its PPE standards. The final rule went into effect in October 2009. This final rule revised the PPE sections of OSHAs general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and marine terminals standards regarding requirements for eye and face protective devices and head and foot protection.

The revision updated the references in these regulations to recognize the more recent editions of the applicable national consensus standards. It allows employers to use PPE constructed in accordance with any of three national consensus standards; the ASTM standards which were updated in 2011 and the ANSI Z41-1999 standard.

This document provides an overview of the OSHA standard, the ANSI performance criteria and ASTM F2413 performance requirements.

Occupational Foot Protection
According to 1910.136(a), “Each affected employee shall wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where such employee’s feet are exposed to electrical hazards.” Appendix B to Subpart I identifies the following occupations for which foot protection should be routinely considered: “shipping and receiving clerks, stock clerks, carpenters, electricians, machinists, mechanics and repairers, plumbers, assemblers, drywall installers and lathers, packers, wrappers, craters, punch and stamping press operators, sawyers, welders, laborers, freight handlers, gardeners and grounds keepers, timber cutting and logging workers, stock handlers and warehouse laborers.”

Requirements of ANSI Z41
The ANSI Z41 standard defines performance measurements and test methods for protective footwear. Effective with the last revision of this standard, the ANSI Z41-1999 requires suppliers and manufactures of Protective Footwear to have independent laboratory test results available to confirm compliance with the standard. And all protective footwear that is certified as meeting ANSI Z41 must first meet the requirements of Section 1 General Requirements for All Types of Footwear–Impact and Compression Resistance. Then the requirements of additional sections such as electrical hazard protection, conductive protection and protection against punctures and penetration can be met.

Protective footwear can meet all the requirements of the ANSI standard or specific elements of it, as long as it first meets the requirements for toe protection in Section 1. A work boot that meets the impact and compression requirements of the ANSI standard may not provide protection for metatarsal, electrical or penetration hazards. All footwear manufactured to ANSI specifications will be marked with the specific portion of the standard with which it complies.

The ANSI standard incorporates a coding system that manufacturers use to identify the portions of the standard with which the footwear complies. The identification code must be legible (printed, stamped, stitched, etc.) on one shoe of each pair of protective footwear.

The following is an example of an ANSI Z41 marking that may be found on protective footwear:
ANSI Z41 PT 99
F I/75 C/75
Mt/75 EH
PR

Line #1: ANSI Z41 PT 99:
This line identifies the ANSI standard. The letters PT indicate the protective toe section of the standard. This is followed by the last two digits of the year of the standard with which the footwear meets compliance (1999).

Line #2: F I/75 C/75:
This line identifies the applicable gender [M (Male) or F (Female)] for which the footwear is intended. It also identifies the existence of impact resistance (I), the impact resistance rating (75, 50 or 30 foot-pounds), compression resistance (C) and the compression resistance rating (75, 50 or 30 which correlates to 2500 pounds, 1750 pounds, and 1000 pounds of compression respectively).

Lines 3 & 4: Mt Cd EH PR & SD:
Lines 3 and 4 are used to reference additional sections in the standard. They are use to designate metatarsal (Mt) resistance and rating, conductive (Cd) properties, electrical hazard (EH), puncture resistance (PR) and static dissipative (SD) properties, if applicable. Line 4 is only used when more than three sections of ANSI Z41 apply.

The purpose of metatarsal footwear is to prevent or reduce the severity of injury to the metatarsal and toe areas. The existence of metatarsal resistance (Mt) and the rating (75, 50 or 30 foot-pounds) is identified.

Conductive (Cd) footwear is intended to protect the wearer in an environment where the accumulation of static electricity on the body is a hazard. It is designed to dissipate state electricity from the body to the ground. The electrical resistance must range between zero and 500,000 ohms.

Electrical hazard (EH) footwear is manufactured with non-conductive electrical shock resistant soles and heals. It is intended to provide a secondary source of protection against accidental contact with live electrical circuits, electrically energized conductors, parts or apparatus. It must be capable of withstanding the application of 14,000 volts at 60 hertz for one minute with no current flow or leakage current in excess of 3.0 milliamperes, under dry conditions.

The purpose of sole puncture resistant (PR) protective footwear is to reduce the possibility of injury caused by sharp objects that may penetrate the soles of the footwear. The puncture resistant device must be an integral part of the footwear and must be constructed into the shoe during the manufacturing process. The footwear must withstand a minimum force of 270 pounds. Devices constructed of metal must pass the corrosion resistance testing and show no sign of corrosion after being exposed to a five percent salt solution for 24-hours. The puncture resistant footwear must show no signs of cracking after being subjected to 1.5 million flexes.

Static dissipative (SD) footwear is designed to reduce the accumulation of excess static electricity by conducting body charge to ground while maintaining a sufficiently high level of resistance. There are two static dissipative classifications Type I and Type II. Both types have a lower limit of resistance of 106 ohms. Type I footwear’s electrical resistance must not exceed 108 ohms, which is generally considered acceptable for semiconductor applications. Type II footwear’s electrical resistance must not exceed 109 ohms and has applications in work environments less demanding than Type I.

ASTM F2413-05 Requirements
ASTM F2413-05 Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Foot Protection covers minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing and classification of protective footwear. Footwear certified as meeting ASTM F2413-05 must first meet the requirements of Section 5.1 Impact Resistant Footwear and Section 5.2 Compression Resistant Footwear. Then the requirements of additional sections such as metatarsal protection, conductive protection, electric shock protection, static dissipative protection and protection against punctures can be met.

All footwear manufactured to the ASTM specification must be marked with the specific portion of the standard with which it complies. One shoe of each pair must be clearly and legibly marked (stitched in, stamped on, pressure sensitive label, etc.) on either the surface of the tongue, gusset, shaft or quarter lining.

The following is an example of an ASTM F2413-05 marking that may be found on protective footwear:
ASTM F2413-05
M I/75/C/75/Mt75
PR
CS

Line #1: ASTM F2413-05:
This line identifies the ASTM standard it indicates that the protective footwear meets the performance requirements of ASTM F2413 issued in 2005.

Line #2: M I/75 C/75 Mt75:
This line identifies the gender [M (Male) or F (Female)] of the user. It also identifies the existence of impact resistance (I), the impact resistance rating (75 or 50 foot-pounds), compression resistance (C) and the compression resistance rating (75 or 50 which correlates to 2500 pounds and 1750 pounds of compression respectively). The metatarsal designation (Mt) and rating (75 or 50 foot-pounds) is also identified.

Lines 3 & 4: PR CS
Lines 3 and 4 are used to identify footwear made to offer protection from other specific types of hazards referenced in the standard. They are used to designate conductive (Cd) properties, electrical insulation properties (EH), footwear designed to reduce the accumulation of excess static electricity (SD), puncture resistance (PR), chain saw cut resistance (CS) and dielectric insulation (DI), if applicable. Line 4 is only used when more than three sections of the ASTM standard apply.

Conductive (Cd) footwear is intended to provide protection for the wearer against hazards that may result from static electricity buildup and to reduce the possibility of ignition of explosives or volatile chemicals. The footwear must facilitate electrical conductivity and the transfer of static electricity build up from the body to the ground. The electrical resistance must range between zero and 500,000 ohms.

Electrical shock resistant (EH) footwear is manufactured with non-conductive electrical shock resistant soles and heals. The outsole is intended to provide a secondary source of electric shock resistance protection to the wearer against the hazards from an incidental contact with live electrical circuits, electrically energized conductors, parts or apparatus. It must be capable of withstanding the application of 14,000 volts at 60 hertz for one minute with no current flow or leakage current in excess of 3.0 milliamperes, under dry conditions.

Static dissipative (SD) footwear is designed to provide protection against hazards that may exist due to excessively low footwear resistance, as well as maintain a sufficiently high level of resistance to reduce the possibility of electric shock. The footwear must have a lower limit of electrical resistance of 106 ohms and an upper limit of 108 ohms.

Puncture resistant (PR) footwear is designed so that a puncture resistant plate is positioned between the insole and outsole. It is an integral and permanent part of the footwear. Devices constructed of metal must pass the ASTM B117 Practice for Operating Salt Spray (Fog Apparatus) corrosion resistance testing. The device must show no sign of corrosion after being exposed to a five percent salt solution for 24-hours. The puncture resistant footwear must show no signs of cracking after being subjected to 1.5 million flexes and have a minimum puncture resistance of 270 pounds.

Chain saw cut resistant (CS) footwear is designed to provide protection to the wearer’s feet when operating a chain saw. It is intended to protect the foot area between the toe and lower leg. This footwear must meet the ASTM F1818 Specification for Foot Protection for Chainsaw Users standard.

Dielectric insulation (DI) footwear is designed to provide additional insulation if accidental contact is made with energized electrical conductors, apparatus or circuits. It must meet the minimum insulation performance requirements of ASTM F1117 (Specification for Dielectric Footwear) and be tested in accordance with ASTM F1116 (Test Method for Determining Dielectric Strength of Dielectric Footwear).

ASTM F2413-11 Requirements
The primary purpose of this standard is the certification of protective footwear. Certification must be performed by independent third party laboratories.

ASTM F2413-11 Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective (Safety) Toe Cap Footwear contains performance requirements for footwear to protect workers’ feet from the following hazards by providing:

  1. Impact resistance (I) for the toe area of footwear (75 foot-pounds);
  2. Compression resistance (C) for the toe area of the footwear (75/ 2,500 pounds);
  3. Metatarsal impact protection (Mt) that reduces the chance of injury to the metatarsal bones at the top of the foot (75 foot-pounds);
  4. Conductive properties (Cd) which reduce hazards that may result from static electricity buildup; and reduce the possibility of ignition of explosives and volatile chemicals (electrical resistance zero – 500,000 ohms);
  5. Electric hazard protection (EH) to protect the wearer when accidental contact is made by stepping on live electrical wire (capable of withstanding the application of 18,000 volts at 60 hertz for one minute with no current flow or leakage current in excess of one milliampere, under dry conditions);
  6. Static dissipative properties (SD) to reduce hazards due to excessively low footwear electrical resistance that may exist where SD footwear is required (must have a lower limit of electrical resistance of 106 ohms and an upper limit of 108 ohms when tested at 50-volts); and
  7. Puncture resistance (PR) (when viewed at a 90° angle, the test pin tip must not visually penetrate beyond the face of the material nearest the foot after an applied force of 270 pounds, no signs of de-lamination or cracking after 1.5 million flexes and no sign of corrosion, de-lamination or deterioration after being exposed to a five percent salt solution for 24-hours.)

Footwear certified as meeting ASTM F2413-11 must first meet the requirements of Section 5.1 Impact Resistant Footwear (75 foot-pounds) and Section 5.2 Compression Resistant Footwear (75 / 2,500 pounds). Then the requirements of additional sections such as metatarsal protection, conductive protection, electric shock protection, static dissipative protection and protection against punctures can be met.

Each protective toe cap must be marked with the manufacturer’s name, trademark or logo. The cap number or identification, toe cap size, and R (right)/ L (left) must be permanently stamped or marked in a conspicuous location.

Each metatarsal and puncture resistant device must be marked with the manufacturer’s name, trademark or logo and device number or identification in a conspicuous location.

All footwear manufactured to this ASTM specification must be marked with the specific portion of the standard with which it complies. One shoe of each pair must be clearly and legibly marked (stitched in, stamped, pressure sensitive label, or a combination of these methods) on the inside or outside surface of the tongue, gusset, shaft or quarter lining. The marking must be enclosed in a rectangular border and a four line format is suggested. Line four is to be used when more than three sections of the standard applies to the footwear.

Any changes to the original components of safety toe footwear such as replacing or adding after market footbeds/inserts could cause failure to any or all parts of this standard and the ASTM marking would be invalid.

Add-On Devices
An important point to remember is that neither the ANSI nor ASTM standards allows for the use of add-on type devices – strap-on foot, toe or metatarsal guards – as a substitute for protective footwear. According to the ANSI and ASTM standards, any protective toe caps or metatarsal guards must be designed, constructed and manufactured into the protective footwear during the manufacturing process and tested as an integral part of the footwear.

While ANSI and ASTM both exclude add-on devices, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not acceptable to OSHA. This paradox exists because OSHA states in 1910.136(b)(2) “Protective footwear that the employer demonstrates is at least as effective as protective footwear that is constructed in accordance with one of the above consensus standards will be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of this section.” This means that if an employer can provide documentation, such as testing data proving their add-on devices provide protection equivalent to either the ANSI or ASTM performance standards, then the add-on devices are acceptable to OSHA. Most manufacturers of add-on devices have submitted their products to independent laboratories for testing. This data and its results can be obtained upon request.

Questions and Answers
Q. What performance standards are incorporated by reference in OSHA’s Foot Protection Standard?
A. 29 CFR 1910.136 refers to the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) F2412-05 Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection and F2413-05 Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective Footwear and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) American National Standard for Personal Protection – Protective Footwear (ANSI Z41-1999 and Z41-1991) for its performance criteria.

On September 9, 2009, OSHA issued an update to its personal protective equipment (PPE) standards. The final rule went into effect in October that year and revised the PPE sections of OSHAs general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and marine terminals standards regarding requirements for eye- and face-protective devices, head protection and foot protection.

The revision updated the references in these regulations to recognize the more recent editions of the applicable national consensus standards. It allows employers to use PPE constructed in accordance with any of three national consensus standards the two most recent and the incorporated reference in the current standards.

Q. When is footwear with impact and compression protection suggested for use?
A. Per Appendix B to Subpart I safety shoes or boots with impact protection are suggested for carrying or handling materials such as packages, objects, parts or heavy tools, which could be dropped; and, for other activities where objects might fall onto the feet. Safety shoes or boots with compression protection are suggested for work activities involving skid trucks, around bulk rolls (such as paper rolls) and around heavy pipes, all of which could potentially roll over an employee’s feet.

Sources

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.132
Personal Protective Equipment General Requirements

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.136
Personal Protective Equipment Occupational Foot Protection

ASTM B117
Practice for Operating Salt Spray (Fog) Apparatus

ASTM F1116
Test Method for Determining Dielectric Strength of Dielectric Footwear

ASTM F117
Specification for Dielectric Footwear

ASTM F1818
Specification for Foot Protection for Chainsaw Users

ASTM F2412-05
Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection

ASTM F2413-05
Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Foot Protection

ASTM F2412-11
Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection

ASTM F2413-11
Standard Specification for Performance Requirements for Protective (Safety) Toe Cap Footwe

“OSHA Document Retention – “How Long Do I Need To Keep This?”

osha-inspections

 

As most employers are aware, OSHA inspections typically involve a request for the employer to produce certain documents. In many cases, employers are unsure of what documents the compliance officer is entitled to see and copy. Employers can also be unsure of how long to retain certain documents required under OSHA. Some OSHA regulations require a specific retention period for documents. Other OSHA regulations, however, do not (although it is often advisable to retain certain documents even if retention is not technically required). This article is intended to give general guidance in these areas.

CATEGORIES OF DOCUMENTS

The following list sets out the typical OSHA standards and the General Duty Clause that may require an employer to create, retain, and produce certain documents during the course of an inspection, if requested by the OSHA compliance officer. Obviously, whether the employer is required to have certain of these programs or others will be dependent upon the nature of the work activities at the site. This list is focused on the standards that are applicable to employers in General Industry (29 CFR 1910 et. seq.) and not Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926 et. seq.) although some General Industry standards are substantially similar and also applicable to the Construction Industry. There are many hazards that are common to each industry but the regulatory obligations frequently differ. For those employers in the Construction Industries, it will be necessary to reference the existing regulations addressing hazards in that industry when responding to an OSHA document request.

During the inspection, the employer should request the compliance officer to make the document request in writing (it can be handwritten) so that there is no confusion over what documents are being requested and so that the employer is not cited for failure to produce a document it did not believe was requested by the compliance officer. The employer’s on-site representative should review this request with management and decide which documents will be produced to the compliance officer. It is important to remember that the employer has no duty to produce certain documents (e.g., post-accident investigations, insurance audits, consultant reports, employee personnel information) because no regulation requires such production. It is important to note that any documents produced can be utilized to issue citations, thus, the employer should not produce any documents unless required by law.

Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)
29 CFR 1910.147 – requires the employer to develop procedures to protect employees who service or maintain its machines against unexpected energization or startup of equipment or release of stored energy.

29 CFR 1910.147(c)(7) – the employer must train its “authorized” employees how perform LOTO with these procedures, as well as “affected” employees who may be exposed to the equipment.

29 CFR 1910.147(f)(2) – requires the on-site employer and outside employer to inform each other of their respective lockout or tagout procedures.

Document retention: The LOTO standard requires employers to certify that periodic inspections have been performed at least annually. Accordingly, employers should retain certifications for 1 year, or until a new certification is created. It is also advisable that employers retain employee LOTO training records for the duration of employment.

Occupational Noise Exposure
29 CFR 1910.95 – requires the employer to provide a hearing conservation program (education, annual audiograms, hearing protection) for employees who are exposed to noise levels equal to or exceeding an 8 hour time weighted average (TWA) of 85 decibels on the A scale. The employer must conduct a noise survey to determine those jobs which may require employees to be included in the program. Employees who suffer hearing loss at certain frequencies must be included on the OSHA 300 Log. The employer must develop a written program and administer it.

Document retention: Employers must retain noise exposure measurement records for two years. Employers must also retain audiometric test records for the duration of the affected employee’s employment.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
29 CFR 1910.132 – the employer must conduct an initial certified hazard assessment of the workplace to determine if hazards are present which require personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head and extremities to protect against injury. The employer must provide each employee with the necessary PPE, train the employee in the use of PPE and enforce its use. The employer must pay for the PPE with limited exceptions.

A second certification is required to confirm that the PPE was provided, the employee received training in how to utilize it and that the employee “understood” the training.

Document retention: Employers should retain the written certifications of a hazard assessment and employee training for the duration of employment for all employees exposed to identified hazards. It is also advisable for employers to retain employee PPE training records for the duration of employment.

Hazard Communication (Employee Right to Know)
29 CFR 1910.1200 – requires the employer to develop a written hazard communication program to protect employees against any hazardous chemical which presents a physical or health hazard. The employer is required to conduct an assessment to determine which hazardous chemicals may be present, to inform employees of the presence of the hazardous chemicals, train employees on how to read a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each hazardous chemical.

Employers are entitled to access to the SDS and to obtain copies.

Document retention: Employers must retain SDSs for the duration of employment plus 30 years for all employees exposed to the chemical in question, unless there is some other record of the identity of the substance or chemical, where it was used and when it was used. The employer must also be sure it has a copy of all SDSs for all chemicals that are currently in use. It is also advisable for employers to retain employee hazard communication training records for the duration of employment.

Process Safety Management
29 CFR 1910.119 – requires employers who utilize certain toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive chemicals in certain quantities, to develop a written fourteen (14) part PSM program. The PSM program addresses all aspects of work around the covered “process” that utilizes the chemicals.

29 CFR 1910.119(h) – requires training of contractor employees who perform certain work around the covered process concerning the hazards and elements of the PSM program.

Document retention: Employers must retain process hazard analyses (PHAs) for the life of the covered process. In addition, the employer must prepare a written record that each employee who is involved in the operation of the process was trained and understood the training. These verification records should be retained for the length of the employee’s employment. We recommend that employers also retain all process safety information (PSI) used for developing, maintaining, auditing, and otherwise managing all processes for the life of the processes. Any incident investigations conducted under the PSM standard must be retained for 5 years. Additionally, employers must retain the two most recent compliance audit reports conducted under the PSM standard.

Emergency Action Plans
29 CFR 1910.38 – requires the employer to develop an emergency action plan to protect employees against the hazards of fires or other emergencies. The EAP must include provisions for reporting a fire or other emergency, evacuation procedures and the alarm system. The employer must train each employee. 29 CFR 1910.38(e).

Document retention: There are no specific document retention requirements under 29 CFR 1910.38, aside from the requirement that employers develop and maintain a written EAP. If the employer has ten (10) or fewer employees, the plan does not have to be in writing.

Fire Extinguishers
29 CFR 1910.157 – requires the employer to provide fire extinguishers and mount, locate and identify them so that they are readily accessible to employees.

If employees are expected to use the fire extinguishers, the employer must provide training upon initial employment and at least annually thereafter. The employer must develop an educational program if it expects the employees to use the fire extinguishers. Many employers specifically prohibit employees from using the fire extinguishers to avoid this training obligation. If the employer permits the employees to use the fire extinguishers, the educational program and training should be in writing and maintained for the length of employment.

Permit-Required Confined Spaces
29 CFR 1910.146 – requires the employer to identify all confined spaces within the workplace that employees or outside contractors may be required to enter and contain a hazardous atmosphere, engulfment hazard, an internal configuration that could trap or asphyxiate an entrant or other serious safety or health hazard. The employer must develop a written program and procedures for employees who enter the confined spaces. Only trained and authorized employees can enter the space.

1910.146(c)(8) – requires the host-employer to provide certain information to other contractors who will have their employees enter the space.

Document retention: Employers must retain each canceled entry permit for at least 1 year and review them within one year after each entry. It is also advisable to retain employee confined space training records for the duration of employment.

Bloodborne Pathogens
29 CFR 1910.1030 – requires an employer to develop a written program to protect employees at the workplace who are reasonably expected to have occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, i.e., bloodborne diseases. The employer is required to assess all jobs to determine if there is such exposure and if so, to train employees in the hazards, provide PPE and to develop procedures for medical evaluation and treatment if an employee has actual exposure.

Document retention: Employers must retain employee exposure records for the duration of employment plus 30 years. Training records must be retained for 3 years from the date on which the training occurred, although it is advisable to retain training records for the duration of employment.

Respiratory Protection
29 CFR 1910.134 – requires the employer to conduct an assessment of the workplace to determine if there are harmful dusts, fumes, mists, sprays or vapors which may create a respiratory health hazard. If there are such hazards, the employer is required to develop a written respiratory protection program, to evaluate employees to determine if they are physically capable of wearing a respirator, to provide such respiratory protection, at the employer’s cost, and train employees how to wear and maintain respiratory protection. The employer must enforce use of the respiratory protection.

Document retention: Employers must retain records of employee medical evaluations for the duration of employment plus 30 years. Employers must also retain fit test records for respirator users until the next fit test is administered.

Electrical Safety (Safety-Related Work Practices)
29 CFR 1910.331-.335 – requires an employer who will permit its employees to perform work on or in the vicinity of exposed energized parts (which cannot be locked out and tagged out) to provide extensive training in the hazards of working or in the vicinity of live electrical equipment, protective clothing and insulated tools and devices. The employer must designate employees as “authorized” in order to perform such work or “unqualified” in which case such employees cannot perform such work. The employer may be required to conduct an electrical exposure hazard survey of electrical equipment under NFPA 70E in order to determine what PPE should be used, what training is necessary, and to otherwise be in compliance with OSHA safety requirements.

Document retention: OSHA’s electrical safety standards do not have any specific record retention requirements, however it is advisable to retain employee training records under these standards for the duration of employment. If an employer conducts an electrical exposure hazard survey, the employer should retain it for as long as the hazard exists.

Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records
29 CFR 1910.1020 – requires employer to inform employees of their right to have access to all records maintained by the employer that reflect an employee’s exposure to any toxic substance or harmful physical agent (e.g., chemicals, dusts, vapors, noise, mold, etc.) or any medical records which the employer maintains on an employee, except for certain exceptions. Employees are entitled to have access and to obtain a copy at the employer’s expense.

Document retention: Employers must retain employee exposure records for the duration of employment plus 30 years. If the employer maintains certain employee medical records, the employer must retain them for the duration of employment plus 30 years.

Powered Industrial Trucks
29 CFR 1910.178 – requires an employer to develop a written program to train all employees who will be required and authorized to operate powered industrial trucks (including forklifts, manlifts, etc.) as to the hazards of such equipment and to certify their training after they receive classroom-type training and are actually observed operating the equipment under the physical conditions at the workplace, such as aisles, ramps, etc. The employee must be retrained and recertified every three years, at minimum, or after an accident or “near miss” which resulted from an unsafe act.

Document retention: The powered industrial truck standard does not specify how long training certifications must be retained after the initial certification or the certification required every three years or after a “near miss”. It is advisable that employers retain the training certifications for the duration of employment for each employee.

OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Fatalities, Injuries and Illness
29 CFR 1904.0 – the OSHA 300 Log must be maintained by employers unless there is an exemption, based on the NAICS code or the size of the employer. The employer is required to record on the Log, within seven (7) calendar days, each fatality, injury or illness that is recordable under OSHA definitions. The host employer is required to enter into its Log the injuries or illnesses of outside employees at the worksite under certain conditions, for example, temporary employees who are under the direction and control of the host employer.

The OSHA 300 Log must be maintained and certified by the employer on an annual basis. For each entry on the Log, there must be an OSHA 301 Incident Report form, or its equivalent, which can be the employer’s First Report of Injury or Illness form required by the State worker’s compensation law. An annual summary must be prepared and posted using the 300-A annual summary form or an equivalent. In order to comply with OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, it is critical that employees are trained from their initial employment that they must immediately report any occupational injury or illness to determine if it is recordable.

Document retention: The OSHA Log, the annual summary, and the OSHA Incident Report forms must be retained by employers for 5 years following the end of the calendar year that these records cover. The OSHA Log must be maintained on an “establishment basis” based on NAICS codes. It is possible that employers may have some “establishments” where a Log must be maintained, and others where maintaining a Log is not necessary.

General Duty Clause
Section 5(a)(1) of the OSHA Act requires an employer to identify “recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death” to an employee, which hazards may not be regulated by a specific OSHA regulation, and to take “feasible” actions to abate or correct such hazards.

This duty can be based upon the “recognition” of the hazard in the employer’s own, existing programs, or within the employer’s industry. Some examples of this legal obligation may be:

Ergonomics

Heat illness

Workplace violence

Combustible dust

Document retention: While there are no specific standards for “recognized hazards” covered under the General Duty Clause, and thus no specific record retention requirements, it is advisable for employers to retain any training records it has developed addressing any “recognized hazards” for the duration of employment, including the written policy, training records and documents that evidence discipline for violation of the policy. Remember that certain documents related to General Duty Clause obligations may also fall under exposure/medical record-keeping requirements (see #11 above).

Disciplinary Records
There is no regulation that requires an employer to maintain written records of employee discipline for violations of the employer’s safety and health policies. If, however, the employer wants to credibly assert the “unavoidable employee misconduct” defense to avoid liability for OSHA citations, the employer is highly recommended to maintain written records of discipline indicating the nature of the violation, the date, the name of the employee who committed the violation and the name of the supervisor who imposed the discipline.

This same documentation can be useful in the event that the employer has to defend an employment discrimination or wrongful termination action by being able to prove that the action was based on a legitimate non-discriminatory reason, that is, violation of safety and health policies.

CONCLUSION

In addition to the summary of OSHA-related documents discussed above, there are numerous other OSHA regulations that may have document retention requirements. If an employer is subject to any these regulations, the regulations must be reviewed and appropriate document retention procedures must be developed.

Remember that it is critical that an employer control the flow of information during the inspection, including the information contained in documents. By avoiding production of documentary evidence that is not required by law, the employer reduces the potential for regulatory citations. It is also critical that employers understand what documents they are required to create and retain. Even when an OSHA standard does not specify how long certain records must be retained, it is advisable to consider retaining such records for a significant length of time. For example, many OSHA standards require employee training, but do not necessarily require documentation of training or retention of training documents. Nonetheless, it is advisable to prepare and retain training documents for the duration of employment because training documents are often indispensable in asserting certain defenses to citations.

http://www.environmentalsafetyupdate.com/osha-compliance/osha-docs-creation-and-retention

Source: Seyfarth & Shaw®

“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.

“Reminder: Are You In Compliance With OSHA’s New Construction Confined Space Standard?”

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Most employers in the construction industry already know that OSHA issued a new confined space standard for construction that became effective on August 3, 2015. Companies with employees who enter confined spaces at construction sites must be sure to understand the new regulation and adjust their processes in order to remain in compliance. Although the new standard has been in effect for six months, this blog provides a reminder on some of the key provisions of which employers should be aware.

As background, OSHA used to just have a confined space standard for general industry employers (29 CFR 1910.146). However in recognition that construction sites often host multiple employers and are continually changing, with the number and nature of confined spaces changing as work progresses, OSHA promulgated a new standard, available at 29 CFR Subpart AA 1926.1200, tailored to the unique characteristics of construction sites.

While the general industry standard and the construction standard have many similarities, some key differences are:

The construction standard requires coordination when there are multiple employers at the worksite. Specifically, the construction standard imposes duties on three types of employers because of the recognition that different workers may perform different activities in the same space, which can result in hidden dangers:
Entry employers. This is defined as an employer who decides that an employee it directs will enter a permit space. Entry employers have a duty to inform controlling contractors (defined below) of any hazards encountered in a permit space. Entry employers also have to develop safe entry procedures.

Host employers. This is defined as the employer who owns or manages the property where the construction work is taking place. If the host employer has information about permit space hazards, it must share that information with the controlling contractor (defined below) and then the controlling contractor is responsible for sharing that information with the entry employers.

Controlling contractor. This is defined as the employer with overall responsibility for construction at the worksite. The controlling contractor is responsible for coordinating entry operations when there is more than one entry employer. Controlling contractors must provide any information they have about any permit space hazards to all entry employers. The controlling contractor is also responsible for coordinating work in and around confined spaces so that no contractor working at the site will create a hazard inside the confined space. After the entry employer performs entry operations, the controlling contractor must debrief the entry employer to gather information that the controlling contractor then must share with the host employer and other contractors who enter the space later.

Continuous atmospheric monitoring is required under the construction standard “whenever possible.” In contrast, the general industry standard merely encourages continuous atmospheric monitoring where possible and only requires periodic monitoring as necessary.
The construction standard requires that a “competent person” evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces including permit-required confined spaces. Notably, the general industry standard does not require that a “competent person” complete this task. A “competent person” is defined under the new standard as someone who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards associated with working conditions, including, of course, whether a workspace is permit-required.

Employers who perform construction-related activities need to make sure they understand the requirements of the new confined space construction standard. For more information, download : Confined Space in Construction: OSHA 29 CFR Subpart AA 1926.1200 here: https://www.osha.gov/confinedspaces/1926_subpart_aa.pdf or consult with your Seyfarth attorney.

Source: Seyfarth, Shaw : Evironmental Safety Update / Law Blog

http://www.environmentalsafetyupdate.com/osha-compliance/are-you-in-compliance-with-oshas-new-confined-space-standard-for-the-construction-industry/

 

 

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.

 

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