Employees Are Key to Injury, Illness Reporting

Our Safety Training Tips editor says that employees need to know the importance of reporting work-related injuries and illnesses. Even though 29 CFR 1904 makes it the employer’s responsibility to keep records and report statistics, employers can’t keep accurate records if employees don’t know to report their work-related illnesses and injuries.

Give your workers a brief overview of the following documents:

  • OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses form is used to enter a one- or two-line description of the injury or illness. The information must be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log within 7 calendar days of the incident. Required information includes:
    • The identity of the employee (unless a privacy case)
    • The time and place the incident occurred
    • The type of injury or illness
    • The parts of the body affected
    • The object or substance that directly caused the injury or illness
    • The classification of each case according to the most serious outcome associated with it (i.e., death, days away from work, restricted work, medical treatment only)
    • The identification of the case as an injury or an illness
    • The appropriate category, if an illness

  • The OSHA 300—A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses form is used to summarize the information from the OSHA 300 Log and is posted from February 1 to April 30.
  • OSHA 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report form is used to investigate the incident. Each recordable injury or illness must have an OSHA 301 form completed within 7 calendar days of the incident.

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Workers need to know what injuries and illnesses to report. OSHA says an injury or illness is workrelated if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a preexisting injury or illness. But, also let them know these nine specific exceptions which OSHA does not consider an injury or illness occurring in the work environment to be workrelated.

  • The employee is in the work environment as a member of the general public when the injury/illness occurs.
  • The injury/illness involves signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurred outside the work environment.
  • The injury or illness results solely from voluntary participation in a wellness program or in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity such as blood donation, physical examination, flu shot, exercise class, racquetball, or baseball.
  • The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption. For example, the employee is injured by choking on a sandwich while in the employer’s establishment.
  • The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee doing personal tasks (unrelated to his or her employment) at the establishment outside of the employee’s assigned working hours.
  • The injury or illness is solely the result of personal grooming, self-medication for a non-work-related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted.
  • The injury or illness is caused by a motor vehicle accident that occurs on a company parking lot or company access road while the employee is commuting to or from work.
  • The illness is the common cold or flu that may have been contracted from another employee.
  • The illness is a mental illness. Employers must establish a method for employees to report injuries or illnesses right away. Employees must be trained and informed about the method they are to use when reporting any injuries or illnesses.

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Workers can request a copy of the OSHA 300 Log. The employer may not enter the employee’s name on the OSHA 300 Log if the case involves a privacy concern. Instead, “privacy case” is entered in the space normally used for the employee’s name. This will protect the privacy of the injured or ill employee when others are provided access to the OSHA 300 Log. Privacy concern cases include:

  • An injury or illness to intimate part of the body or the reproductive system

  • An injury or illness from sexual assault
  • A mental illness
  • An HIV infection
  • Hepatitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Needlestick injuries
  • Other illnesses if employee voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log

Why It Matters

  • Employees need to know what and how to report if they get injured or become sick because of work-related injuries. The sooner they report, the sooner they can be treated, which may speed recovery and lessen medical expenses.

  • Employers need to educate employees on reporting procedures to help employers keep track of safety issues so they can continuously improve safety procedures.
  • Employers need to comply with reporting requirements to assist them in investigating accidents and illnesses in order to make changes to the work process and/or equipment to prevent further problems.

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