OSHA

Compliance Perspectives: A 10-Step Compliance Strategy for OSHA Recordkeeping Rules

January is the season when employers must compile their OSHA logs for the previous year. The good news is that many labs are exempt from these requirements. Here’s an overview of the OSHA Recordkeeping Standard and a 16-step strategy to ensure compliance in case your lab is covered.

Step 1: Figure Out If Your Lab Is Covered

Labs are among the industries listed by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as being partially exempt from the Standard (Section 1904.39), as shown below:

Partially Exempt Industries by NAICS Code
NAICS Code Industry
6211 Offices of Physicians
6212 Offices of Dentists
6213 Offices of Other Health Practitioners
6214 Outpatient Care Centers
6215 Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories
6113 Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools
8122 Death Care Services

Result: You don’t have to keep OSHA injury and illness records (aka OSHA 300 Logs) for any establishment classified under the applicable NAICS code (subject to exceptions that we’ll discuss below) unless one of the following agencies asks you in writing to do so:

  • OSHA;
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics; or
  • A state agency operating under the authority of OSHA or the BLS.

Even if you’re not on the partially exempt list, you don’t have to keep OSHA 300s if you have 10 or fewer employees or already keep equivalent records for the Department of Energy, Federal Railroad Administration or other federal government agency.

Step 2: Record All Recordable Injuries & Illnesses

Even if you’re on the partially exempt list (or subject to one of the other exemptions), you must report to OSHA any employee:

  • Fatality;
  • In-patient hospitalization;
  • Amputation; or loss of an eye.

Non-exempt labs must keep records of each fatality, injury and illness that:

  • Is work-related;
  • Qualifies as a new case; and
  • Results in:  
    • Death;
    • Days away from work;
    • Restricted work or transfer to another job;
    • Medical treatment beyond first aid;
    • Loss of consciousness; or
    • A significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional; and

You must also keep records for specific types of injuries or cases required under other OSHA standards, including needlesticks and sharps injuries, medical removal, occupational hearing loss, work-related tuberculosis and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

Step 3: Figure Out Which Employees You Must Keep Records Logs For

You must keep records for all “covered employees,” i.e., all employees on your payroll, whether they’re labor, executive, hourly, salary, part-time, seasonal or migrant workers. You must also record recordable injuries and illnesses to employees who aren’t on your payroll if you supervise them on a day-to-day basis, including temps, leased employees and others supplied by an outside personnel service.

Step 4: Fill Out the Right OSHA Form

You must record recordable injuries and illnesses in the right forms, including:

The 3 Kinds of OSHA Injury/Illness Records
OSHA Form Information When to Complete
OSHA 300 Log Information for each recordable injury or illness Within seven calendar days of receiving information that recordable injury or illness occurred
OSHA 300-A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Summary of OSHA 300 information for year End of the year
OSHA 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report (or equivalent) Information for each recordable injury or illness for OSHA Within seven calendar days of receiving information that recordable injury or illness occurred

Step 5: Determine If Electronic Reporting Is Necessary

Labs that are subject to, i.e., not partially or otherwise exempt from OSHA reporting and recordkeeping requirements must also meet electronic reporting and disclosure rules if they:

  • Had 250 or more employees at any time during the previous calendar year; or
  • Had 20 to 249 employees at any time during the previous calendar year and is in one of the industries designated as high-risk listed in Appendix A of the Final Rule for electronic reporting, including:
High Risk Industries by NAICS Code
NAICS Code Industry
6219 Other Ambulatory Health Care Services
6221 General Medical & Surgical Hospitals
6222 Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals
6223 Specialty (except Psychiatric & Substance Abuse) Hospitals
6231 Nursing Care Facilities
6232 Residential Mental Retardation, Mental Health & Substance Abuse Facilities
6233 Community Care Facilities for the Elderly
6239 Other Residential Care Facilities
6242 Community Food & Housing, and Emergency & Other Relief Services
6243 Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Step 6: Determine Which Information to Report Electronically

Which information from the OSHA forms you must report electronically depends on why your lab is covered: 

  • If you’re covered because your lab has 250+ employees, you must report information from all 3 forms; or
  • If you’re covered because your lab has 20 to 249 employees and is high-risk, you must report information only from your OSHA 300A.

The basic rule: You must report all information listed in the particular form each year by March 2, except information that reveals or could be used to reveal the identity of the injured or ill employee:

Which OSHA Form Information to Report Electronically
OSHA Form Required Information
OSHA 300 Everything except employee name (column B)
OSHA 300A Everything
OSHA 301 Everything except: Employee name (field 1); employee address (field 2); name of physician or other health care professional (field 6); facility name and address if treatment given away from worksite (field 7)

Step 7: Prepare, Certify & Post Annual OSHA 300-A Summary

At the end of each calendar year, you must review the OSHA 300 Log as extensively as necessary to verify that the entries are complete and accurate, correct any deficiencies you find, create an annual summary of injuries and illnesses recorded on the OSHA 300, certify the summary and post the annual summary. You must still complete, certify and post the OSHA 300-A even if you had no recordable cases for the year.

Step 8: Retain Injury/Illness Records

You must save the OSHA illness and injury records for at least five years following the end of the calendar year the record covers.

Step 9: Revise & Update Injury/Illness Records

Over the five-year retention period, you must continually update your stored OSHA 300 Logs as information becomes available by listing any newly discovered recordable injuries or illnesses that weren’t previously recorded. Modify the previous entry of any case that later information shows isn’t properly recorded, e.g., a case listed as requiring medical treatment turns out to be worse and requires the employee to take days off. And make sure you take the above actions within 7 calendars of receiving the new information.

Step 10: Ensure Transfer of Records to New Owner of Business

If your lab changes ownership, you must recognize that you’re responsible for recording and reporting work-related injuries and illnesses for that period of the year during which you owned the establishment. You must also transfer the Part 1904 records to the new owner.

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