Employer responsibility for workplace safety goes beyond training employees on safe work habits, providing personal protection equipment and following procedures established in OSHA standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 also requires employers to track injuries and illnesses sustained on the job, and gives the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) authority to set recording parameters. Although OSHA exempts some businesses from the recording requirement, it expects every private-sector employer to report deaths, injuries resulting in hospitalization, eye losses and amputations within a specific timeframe.

OSHA uses four basic criteria to qualify a work-related injury or illness that needs to be recorded:
  • Causes death
  • Causes absence from work, activity restriction on the job, or moving the employee into another position
  • Requires more than first aid treatment
  • Causes unconsciousness
If a licensed health care professional diagnoses an employee's work-related illness or injury as "significant," OSHA wants employers to record it in the 300 Log even when none of the four basic criteria is present. They also must report work-related punctures from sharp objects or needles contaminated by blood, perforated eardrums, and illnesses such as tuberculosis and cancer.

Some work-related safety events also require employers to report to OSHA within a certain number of hours: fatalities, serious injuries that result in an in-patient hospitalization, amputations and eye loss. Again, OSHA definitions come into play, as the agency does not consider hospital admission for tests or observation to be an in-patient hospitalization. Amputations include partially severed body parts that physicians reattach and fingertips. Although loss of sight may be an injury that needs to be recorded, it is not one that needs to be reported; only loss of the eye, defined by OSHA as removal of the eyeball, must be reported.

The reporting clock starts to tick as soon as an employer learns an employee has one of the four reportable events. OSHA wants a call within eight hours of a death that happens 30 days or fewer after a work-related injury. The agency gives employers only 24 hours to report an eye loss, in-patient hospitalization and amputation that results from an on-the-job accident.

For further questions and guidance about recording or reporting, be sure to contact LandrumHR’s Risk Management Department at 800-888-0472 or email us at safety@landrumhr.com.