The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, requires employers to maintain a current and accurate log of workplace injuries. The information collected on this OSHA 300 log is used by the agency and employers to evaluate the safety of the workplace, to minimize or prevent workplace injuries and to understand industrial hazards. Employers are required to provide safe and healthy workplaces for their employees, and the OSHA log is one way of monitoring how well employers are meeting this expectation.
Employers required to report workplace injuries include all businesses with more than 10 employees unless they are in one of the partially exempted industries. These include specific low-hazard retail businesses, service-based businesses and finance, insurance, and real estate entities. These business types are exempted because of the low-risk nature of their business operations.
Employers are required to promptly report:
- work fatalities within eight hours
- work-related in-patient hospitalizations within 24 hours
- work-related loss of an eye or amputation within 24 hours
These incidents can be reported by calling the confidential OSHA hot line, which operates 24 hours a day (1-800-321-6742), by calling the local area office during normal business hours or by using the online reporting form on the OSHA website.
The employer must record on the OSHA 300 log:
- all work-related fatalities
- all work-related injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted duty, loss of consciousness or medical treatment beyond first aid
- work-related significant injuries or illnesses diagnosed by a licensed health-care provider even if it doesn't result in lost time
OSHA's definition of work-related injuries, illnesses or fatalies are those in which an event of exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to the condition.
The OSHA 300 log includes information about the business at the top of every page, followed by a brief description of each recordable injury or illness. The description includes the date; a short narrative of the incident, generally one to two lines; the result, such as days lost or hospitalization; and any corrective action taken to prevent future incidents of a similar nature. The employee's name may be left off the form if there are concerns about privacy -- for example, in the case of sexual assault. This information is summarized at the end of the year on the OSHA 300-A form.
Employers are required to maintain these documents on site for a minimum of three years. Employers must post the log for the prior year in a publicly visible place from Feb. 1 to April 30 of the current year.