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Will You Have Your Client’s Back When OSHA Comes Calling?

Make sure you’re informed for when your client needs your expertise by providing your clients with the tools they need to answer questions confidently when OSHA comes knocking at their door.
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​If and when an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspector comes knocking at your client’s door, don’t be surprised to get a call from them expecting you, as their agent, to have all the answers and help guide them through their required OSHA record-keeping requirements. There is such an overlap between OSHA records and workers compensation that your clients will most likely have numerous questions. Will you be prepared to answer them?

Start by explaining the purpose of OSHA's recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Reassure your client that OSHA isn’t the bad guy. Any organization with a mission to keep employees safe from injury should never be pictured as Darth Vader. Its job is to find problems, and your job is to help your client make sure there are no problems to be found.

To that end, recordkeeping and reporting requirements help support OSHA's mission of ensuring safe and healthy work conditions. Recordkeeping provides transparency to your employees on the company's injury and illness record. Additionally, data collected by the agency is used to track trends and determine methods of inspection and outreach.

If your client asks if they are required to keep records, they need to know that employers with more than 10 employees that are not listed as an exempt industry, are required to keep records of injuries and illnesses.

Organizations covered under OSHA must complete the following forms to record all work-related OSHA recordable injuries and illnesses:

1) OSHA Form 301. Form 301 is an injury and illness incident report form, which must be filled out when a recordable work-related injury or illness occurs. The 301 log must include details of the incident, including the extent and severity of an injury or illness, employee information and medical information. Within seven days after receiving information about an incident, employers are required to fill out this, or an equivalent, form, which must also be kept on file for five years following the year that the injury or illness happened.

2) OSHA Form 300. Form 300, otherwise known as the OSHA log, is a form to record all reportable injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace, where and when they occur, the nature of the case, the name and job title of the employee injured or made sick, and the number of days away from work or on restricted or light duty, if any.

3) OSHA Form 300A. Form 300A provides a summary of Form 300, which lists more detailed information about each incident. The summary presents a snapshot of recordable injuries and illnesses. It does not include identifying information, such as employee names. This document must be signed by a company executive.

Employers need to know they are required to post the OSHA Form 300A between February 1 and April 30 of every year, even if they experienced no recordable injuries or illnesses during the previous year. OSHA requires employers to post the form in a common area where notices to employees are usually kept.

Needless to say, all injuries in the workplace are important.  But as far as OSHA goes, you should record work-related injuries and illnesses that resulted in death, loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work duties or job transfer or medical treatment beyond first aid.

If the question arises whether or not your client can use the loss runs their workers comp carrier provides to complete the summary, the simple answer is no. Those loss runs may not match the information that’s required on their OSHA 300 log. This is because not all recordable injuries are filed as workers comp claims and the days away from work are tracked differently for the claims process.

Make sure your client knows that the initial day of any injury is not counted. However, any partial days are recorded as a day of job transfer or restriction for recordkeeping purposes. For example, all lost time for an injury that occurred in 2019 should be recorded on the 2019 log. If the injured employee is still out on Feb. 1, 2020, the employer estimates the total number of days they expect them to be out, and record that number on the 2019 log. The record can be amended once the employee returns to work.

For recordkeeping purposes, OSHA places a 180-day maximum on lost work days. In addition, you must keep a separate OSHA 300 log for each location that is expected to be in operation for one year or longer. This means your client must keep a separate OSHA 300 log for each establishment that is expected to be in operation for one year or longer.

If they have locations that will be in operation for less than one year, they do not have to keep separate OSHA 300 logs. They can keep one log that covers all of their short-term establishments. They may also include the short-term establishments' recordable injuries and illnesses on an OSHA 300 log that covers short-term establishments for individual company divisions or geographic regions.

We live in a real-time age, which means that OSHA is now accepting reports sent electronically, based on the size of a single physical location rather than the size of the entire company. Establishments with 20 to 249 employees, that are on the required industry list must electronically report. Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep records, must also electronically report.

Make sure you’re informed for when your client needs your expertise the most. The key to client retention is providing your clients with the tools they need to answer questions confidently when OSHA steps in.

Dustin Boss is the founder of Emerge Apps and the developer of Oshalogs, an OSHA recordkeeping and injury intelligence app being used by agents and employers around the country.

Thursday, June 11, 2020
Workers Comp