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Back to Basics: What is the OSHA Form 300 and How Do I Use It?

Back to Basics is a weekly feature that highlights important but possibly overlooked information that any EHS professional should know. This week, we take a look at the OSHA 300 log and how to use it.

osha 300 log

If you’ve ever questioned what to record on your OSHA Form 300, short for OSHA Log of Injuries and Illnesses, here’s what you need to know.

In the event OSHA comes out and inspects your workplace for dangers and issues citations, one of the first things they’ll look at is your establishment’s injury and illness records, aka your OSHA Form 300.

What is the OSHA Form 300?

OSHA requires employers with 10 or more full-time employees to keep a yearly log of all work-related injuries and illnesses. The OSHA Form 300 is where employers are required to record all reportable injuries and illnesses that occur in their workplace, where and when they occur, the nature of the case, the name and job title of the affected employee, and the number of days away from work or on restricted or light duty.

Recordable Events

Generally speaking, any of the following injuries or illnesses need to be recorded on the log:  

  •  Any work-related fatality. 
  •  Any work-related injury or illness that results in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job. 
  •  Any work-related injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid. 
  •  Any work-related diagnosed case of cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones or teeth, and punctured eardrums.

Special Recording Criteria

There are also special recording criteria for work-related cases involving: needlesticks and sharps injuries; medical removal; hearing loss; and tuberculosis. At the end of the year, make sure to post the summary page of the logs in a public area on February 1 and leave up until at least April 30.

Not all injuries or illnesses need to be recorded, though. OSHA has published a list of first aid measures at 29 CFR 1904.7(b)(5)(ii) that do not have to be recorded. Many companies find this list useful because they can either hire in-house medical personnel or send employees to dedicated occupational clinics to provide first aid care that is equivalent to medical treatment. The advantage being that first aid care does not need to be recorded and the employee receives proper treatment.

Other Injury and Illness Forms

In addition to the OSHA Form 300, which is the actual log, there are two other forms used to record work-related injuries and illnesses.

Form 301
This form is called the Injury and Illness Incident Report and is used to record information on how each injury or illness case occurred.

Form 300-A
This form serves as the summary of work-related injuries and illnesses, which is to be posted in the workplace annually. At the end of each calendar year, Form 300-A must be completed and certified by a company executive as correct and complete and posted in the workplace where notices to workers are usually posted. It must be posted for three months, from February 1 until April 30.

Be Prepared to Manage Injuries

The best method of injury management is prevention, of course. A robust hazard identification and management program can reduce the risk of injury and illness to begin with. If an injury does occur, a case management program should be in place to provide prompt and appropriate care to the worker.

A case management plan should have the following elements: 

  •  Designated roles and responsibilities. 
  •  A list of nearby medical facilities, preferably occupational clinics. 
  •  Ability to accommodate restricted work. 
  •  A return-to-work plan for extended time away.

OSHA Reporting Guidance

Safety plans and procedures and employee training mitigate the risk of employee injury and illness. Without these in place, you risk having to pay higher workers’ compensation insurance premiums, loss of productive time, lower staff morale, and possible missed work for companies that report statistics through third-party contractor verification services.

BLR’s EHS Hero® provides the necessary resources to make sure you can always find the answer to the question…Is it reportable? EHS Hero seamlessly combines EHS compliance and management into a 360-degree solution that provides industry professionals with everything they need to automate and improve their EHS programs. And if you are still unsure of whether something is reportable, use the EHS Hotline tool to get thorough, plain-English answers from BLR’s team of EHS professionals. With these resources at your disposal, you can maintain your injury and illness records with confidence.

OSHA Form 300 FAQs

Below are a few frequently asked questions about OSHA 300 forms and the direction given by OSHA. 

  1. How long must forms be kept? Five years
  2. Which employees are covered by the recording-keeping requirements? All employees on the payroll are covered.
  3. Are workers allowed to see these forms? Yes. Employers must provide copies of the OSHA 30 Logs and Form 301 Incident Report free of charge. Once a request is made, these documents must be provided by the end of the next business day.
  4. What if workers are scared to report their injuries and illnesses? It is illegal for employers to discriminate or harass workers for reporting an injury or illness.
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Business and Learning Resources (BLR), a division of Simplify Compliance, LLC, is an industry-leading knowledge provider with more than 40 years of experience in human capital management, environmental, health, and safety; learning and development; and legal markets. BLR® provides innovative education solutions designed to help businesses deliver consistent training, achieve compliance, and maximize efficiencies in employee workflows, resulting in measurable performance and financial improvements.

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