Keeping accurate records of recordable injuries or illnesses that occur in the workplace or out on a jobsite is not only the law, but also it serves a valuable purpose for all in the construction industry. The information that is gathered will help the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the government, researchers and your employees work toward eliminating hazards in the workplace. This will help provide a safer workplace for all in the construction industry.
The problem with the current law regarding this employer obligation is the confusion over the length of time that an employer must make and maintain a record of the incident. To clarify this requirement, OSHA has proposed amendments to the original rule that should help alleviate the confusion. These new amendments do not change the existing law, but instead, should make it easier for employers to understand their obligations under the law.
What This Means to You as an Employer in the Construction Industry
Here is what you need to know in order to remain compliant with the reporting obligations under OSHA 29 CFR part 1904:
- You are obligated to record certain work-related injuries or illnesses that occur in your workplace or out on a job site.
- Recordable injuries or illnesses are those that meet at least one of the following criteria for recording if the incident results in:
- Death occurring from the injury or illness
- Loss of consciousness
- Medical treatment requiring more than first aid
- A physician or licensed health care professional diagnosing a significant injury or illness
- Days lost from work, work restrictions or job transfer
- This information must be submitted to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) via an “OSHA 300” form and made available to your employees.
- You must also fill out a supplemental “OSHA 301 Incident Report” that provides additional information about the incidents recorded on the OSHA 300 form.
- At the end of each calendar year, you must review the 300 Log and verify that the information is correct and correct any deficiencies that are found in your annual review.
- By February 1 of each year, you must post through April 30 an annual summary of all OSHA 300 logs for the prior year.
- You must retain your 300 logs and annual summaries for five years following the end of the year in which the incident occurred.
- You are not required to update these logs unless:
- New information regarding the incident becomes available
- Additional related incidents have occurred
- Changes to classifications, descriptions or outcomes have occurred
Understanding Violations to this Law
There has been much confusion surrounding violations of this law and its statute of limitations that have brought forth the need for additional clarification. Here is what you need to keep in mind:
- Your failure to report the initial incident is not an excuse for not complying with retaining and updating the OSHA logs during the five-year period
- You are in violation if the records are lost or destroyed within the required five-year retention period
- The statute of limitations begins six months after the expiration of the five-year period.
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