OSHA Final Rule Makes Injury and Illness Recordkeeping an Ongoing Obligation

Posted on 12/19/2016 by Roger Marks

In today’s Federal Register, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) posted a Final Rule to amend the injury and illness reporting and recordkeeping regulations. With this Final Rule, OSHA clarifies that keeping complete and accurate records of workplace injuries and illnesses is an “ongoing obligation” for employers.

In other words, when an employer fails to record an injury or illness within seven days as required by 29 CFR 1904.29(b)(3), the employer still must record the injury or illness.
As OSHA puts it in the Final Rule, “An employer who fails to create a required record during the seven-day grace period provided for in 1904.29(b)(3) must still create the record so long as the (five year) retention period has not elapsed*.”  

*Under 29 CFR 1904.33, employers must keep records of workplace injury and illness for five years following the date of the incident.

View the OSHA Final Rule here. The Final Rule takes effect January 18, 2017.

What Does This OSHA Final Rule Mean for Employers?

The Final Rule makes it even more crucial that employers properly record injuries and illnesses in the workplace. If an employer failed to record a specific injury or illness in the past, now is the time to go back and record it. Better late than never.
Otherwise, OSHA may levy a penalty for each day the injury or illness was not properly recorded following the seven-day grace period provided under §1904.29(b)(3). In 2016, OSHA increased its fines for 29 CFR work safety violations for the first time in 25 years. 

What Is a Reportable Injury Under 29 CFR?

Employers subject to 29 CFR 1904 must record workplace injuries as they occur and post a summary in a public location at the start of each year to inform employees. Employers in non-exempt industries with ten or more full-time-equivalent employees (including temporary workers and contractors) must record each fatality, injury, or illness that:

  1. Is work-related,
  2. Is a new case, and
  3. Results in death; days away from work, on restricted work, or transferred from usual work (DART); medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness; or a "significant injury or illness" as diagnosed by medical professional.
Have questions about what kinds of injuries are “work related” or what to record on your OSHA 300 log? Read OSHA Answers Form 300 Questions.  

Tags: new, osha, reporting and recordkeeping, rules, safety

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