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Safety Management Insights

How to Avoid OSHA 300 Recordkeeping Mistakes

Posted by Don Brown on Nov 6, 2017 8:00:00 AM

osha 300 recordkeepingWorkplace injuries and illnesses can occur at any time or place. While companies strive to prevent such events, they need to know how to handle them when they do occur. This includes knowing how to properly record them.

OSHA Form 300 is the first form to fill out in these cases; it is one of several forms that can be digitally filed and tracked via BasicSafe’s Incident Investigation and Reporting Module. Unless companies fall under the small employer or low-hazard industry exemptions, they will need to log work-related injuries and illnesses here as they occur throughout the year.

To help you avoid OSHA 300 recordkeeping mistakes, follow these tips on how to properly fill out the form.

Know When to Record an Event

Before a workplace injury or illness is recorded, you’ll first want to ensure that it warrants the OSHA 300.

Say an injury at your workplace requires medical treatment beyond first aid. A form should be completed in this case. But if incidents are only treated with first aid such as bandages or eye patches, filling out a form is not necessary.

You can find a complete list of occupational injuries and illnesses that should and should not be recorded on the OSHA website.

Maintain Privacy As Needed

Based on the circumstances of the workplace incident, it may be considered a privacy concern case. Examples that fall under this umbrella include mental illnesses or cases of tuberculosis.

In these scenarios, you’ll want to exclude the employee’s name from the OSHA 300 and instead enter “privacy case” in this space. The name can be included on a separate confidential list and updated as needed in the future.

Be Detailed In Your Description

When describing workplace injuries or illnesses, it’s important to be specific. This helps to paint an accurate and complete picture of the incident, which can be a valuable resource in preventing similar events in the future.

Consider a case where a worker cuts his or her foot. Rather than just documenting the injury as “cut on foot,” detail the part of the foot that was cut and the object or substance that caused the injury.

Check the Right Classification

It’s often the case that employers will check multiple boxes to classify occupational injuries or illnesses. While there may be some overlap, OSHA 300 recordkeeping only requires that you check the box for the most severe outcome.

For example, if an employee lost consciousness for a few seconds and then missed days of work, you would check the latter of the two boxes.

Keep Your Counts Accurate

Accurately counting days tied to workplace injuries and illnesses is an important part of OSHA recordkeeping. Employers, however, have a tendency to enter incorrect numbers for lost and restricted days.

When tracking the number of lost days, remember that the day the injury occurs does not count for lost time. This means that if an employee hurts themselves at the start of the workday, receives treatment at a clinic, and returns home that night, no time is lost.

Another factor to keep in mind is the cap for days away from work. Even if a worker has been out of the office for more than 180 days, OSHA places the cap here, so there is no need to count beyond that.

Companies can’t identify potential risks in the workplace when workplace injuries and illnesses aren’t reported effectively. This can reduce employees’ level of safety and result in greater costs as injuries occur. The solution is to have the right resources in place to track such incidents, as well as near misses, to create a safer, more profitable environment.

Interested to see how the right safety management software can benefit your tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses? Access our eBook, “Why You’re At Risk Without a Safety Management System,” for details.

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