OSHA REVISES RECORDKEEPING REGULATIONS
January 18, 2001 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a
revised rule to improve the system employers use to track and record workplace
injuries and illnesses.
recordkeeping requirements, in place since 1971, were designed to help employers
recognize workplace hazards and correct hazardous conditions by keeping track of
work-related injuries and illnesses and their causes. The revised rule is
designed to produce better information about occupational injuries and illnesses
while simplifying the overall recordkeeping system for employers. The rule will
also better protect employees' privacy.
final rule becomes effective on January 1, 2002, and will affect approximately
1.3 million establishments. OSHA is publishing the rule now to give employers
ample time to learn the new requirements and to revise computer systems they may
be using for recordkeeping. (During this transition period, employers must
adhere to requirements of the original rule).
the former rule, employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from most
requirements of the new rule, as are a number of industries classified as
low-hazard-retail, service, finance, insurance, and real estate sectors. The new
rule updates the list of exempted industries to reflect recent industry data.
(All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act must continue
to report any workplace incident resulting in a fatality or the hospitalization
of three or more employees).
three decades of what many employers considered complicated recordkeeping
requirements with cumbersome forms and limited technological assistance, OSHA is
revising this rule to address some of these concerns. This rulemaking completes
a larger agency effort to revise, update, and simplify requirements that many
considered too lengthy and complex," said OSHA Administrator Charles N.
Jeffress. "The new rule combines previous regulatory requirements and
interpretations into one clear and precise document that will aid an employer's
ability to increase workplace safety."
revised rule includes a provision for recording needlestick and sharps injuries
that is consistent with OSHA’s revised bloodborne pathogens standard that goes
into effect April 18, 2001. This provision is expected to result in a
significant increase in recordable cases annually.
recordkeeping rule also conforms with OSHA's ergonomics standard published last
November (Now on hold for the time being). It simplifies the manner in which
employers record musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), replacing a cumbersome system
in which MSDs were recorded using criteria different from those for other
injuries or illnesses. The revised forms have a separate column for recording
MSDs, which will improve the compilation of national data on these disorders.
of the least understood concepts of recordkeeping has been restricted work.
The new rule clarifies the definition of restricted work or light duty
and makes it easier to record those cases. Work-related injuries are also better
defined to ensure the recording only of appropriate cases while excluding cases
clearly unrelated to work.
revised rule also promotes improved employee awareness and involvement in the
recordkeeping process, providing workers and their representatives access to the
information on recordkeeping forms and increasing awareness of potential hazards
in the workplace. Privacy concerns of employees have also been addressed; the
former rule had no privacy protections covering the log used to record
work-related injuries and illnesses.
in plain language using a question and answer format, the regulation for the
first time uses checklists and flowcharts to provide easier interpretations of
recordkeeping requirements. Finally, employers are given more flexibility in
using computers and telecommunications technology to meet their recordkeeping
recordkeeping requirements provide the source data for the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS) Occupational Injury and Illness Survey, the primary source of
statistical information concerning workplace injuries and illnesses. BLS
collects the data and publishes the statistics, while OSHA interprets and
enforces the regulation.
Of OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule
rule addressing the recording and reporting of occupational injuries and
illnesses affects approximately 1.3 million establishments. The revision
improves employee involvement, creates simpler forms, provides clearer
regulatory requirements, and allows employers more flexibility for using
computers to meet OSHA regulatory requirements.
The following is a brief summary of some of the key provisions of the
three recordkeeping forms:
Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses); simplified and
printed on smaller legal sized paper.
different criteria for recording work-related injuries and work-related
illnesses; one set of criteria will be used for both. (The former rule required
employers to record all illnesses, regardless of severity).
records to include any work-related injury or illness resulting in one of the
following: death; days away from work; restricted work or transfer to another
job; medical treatment beyond first aid; loss of consciousness; or
diagnosis of a significant injury/illness by a physician or other licensed
health care professional.
new definitions of medical treatment, first aid, and restricted work to simplify
a significant degree of aggravation before a preexisting injury or
illness becomes recordable.
additional exemptions to the definition of work-relationship to limit recording
of cases involving the eating and drinking of food and beverages, common colds
and flu, blood donations, exercise programs, mental illnesses, etc.
the recording of "light duty" or restricted work cases. Requires
employers to record cases when the injured or ill employee is restricted from
their "normal duties" which are defined as work activities the
employee regularly performs at least once weekly.
employers to record all needlestick and sharps injuries involving contamination
by another person's blood or other bodily fluids.
employers to record standard threshold shifts (STS) in employees' hearing. (An
STS is an adverse change in an employee's hearing threshold, relative to his/her
most recent audiogram). Provides a separate column on the OSHA Form 300 to
capture statistics on hearing loss.
the same recording criteria to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) as to all
other injuries or illnesses. Employer retains flexibility to determine whether
an event or exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to the MSD.
Forms include columns dedicated to MSD cases.
separate provisions describing the recording criteria for cases involving the
work-related transmission of tuberculosis or medical removal under OSHA
the term "lost workdays" and focuses on days away or days restricted
or transferred. Also includes new rules for counting that rely on calendar days
instead of workdays.
employers to establish a procedure for employees to report injuries and
illnesses and tell their employees how to report. Employers are prohibited
from discriminating against employees who do report. For the first time,
employee representatives will have access to those parts of the OSHA 301 form
relevant to the employees they represent.
employee privacy by
Prohibiting employers from entering an individual's name on Form 300 for
certain types of injuries/illnesses (e.g., sexual assaults, HIV infections,
mental illnesses, etc.);
Providing employers the right not to describe the nature of sensitive
injuries where the employee's identity would be known;
Giving employee representatives access only to the portion of Form 301
which contains no personal identifiers; and
Requiring employers to remove employees' names before providing the data
to persons not provided access rights under the rule.
the annual summary to be posted for three months instead of one. Requires
certification of the summary by a company executive.
the reporting of fatalities and catastrophes to exclude some motor carrier and
motor vehicle accidents.
First Aid Treatment
new recordkeeping rule includes a new definition of first aid, and clarifies
that only medical treatment needs to be recorded on the new OSHA 300 logs. First
aid cases do not need to be recorded. Here are procedures that OSHA
considers to be first aid:
definition of first aid includes:
applications of first aid do not represent medical treatment, according to OSHA.
It is the nature of the treatment, not how many times it is applied, that
defines whether it is first aid or medical treatment, according to the agency.
rule was published in the Federal Register January 19, 2001.
For detailed information on the final recordkeeping rule, view OSHA's
web site at: