Osha Record-keeping Requirements: I hate paperwork! Don’t you?

osha recordkeeping requirements

The simple answer is yes! But when it comes to the Federal government rules, paperwork is still a requirement.

Even a small business can be required by the Department of Labor/OHSA to keep certain records required by regulations.

Let us start with the OSHA Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) Part 1904 Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. The OSHA recording and reporting rule had a major update in 2001. And had another update in 2020.

The rule applies to all private employers (unless exempted see link in article) and public entities in some state OSHA programs.

Three OSHA recordkeeping forms are required to be kept in writing if your company has more than ten full time employees (temporary labor that you supervise on a day-to-day basis count as an employee).

The forms, 300 Log, 301 Incident Report, and the 300 A Summary, are required to be maintained for five years. These forms are required to be completed when ever an employee has experienced a work-related injury or illnesses that meets the recordable criteria. Once the recordable incident has taken place the employer has 7 calendar days to record the incident on the form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.

In addition to the Form 300 Log entry, the employer is also required to complete form 301Injury and Illness Incident Report. The 301 describes the recordable injury or illness in detail.

If there is an OSHA visit by a compliance officer, the officer will ask to see the last three years of these forms. This is a common procedure that takes place during the opening conference. By the way if the employer cannot readily produce the forms in that meeting, the company has four business hours to produce them.

If the injury or illnesses recordable meets the definition of a “privacy case,” the employer is required to keep a separate confidential 300 log and 301 incident report. There should be procedures in place to protect that information within the company.

One note about keeping the required injury and illness forms. As a company you may be exempt from keeping them if you are listed as a low hazard industry.

This exemption if based on your North American Industrial Classification System business code (NAICS).

From the OSHA website:

Non-Mandatory Appendix A to Subpart B — Partially Exempt Industries

Employers are not required to keep OSHA injury and illness records for any establishment classified in the following North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), unless they are asked in writing to do so by OSHA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), or a state agency operating under the authority of OSHA or the BLS. All employers, including those partially exempted by reason of company size or industry classification, must report to OSHA any workplace incident that results in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye (see § 1904.39). The list of partially exempt industries is based on the 2007 NAICS codes. If an industry listed on the “Non-Mandatory Appendix A to Sub part B – Partially Exempt Industries” no longer exists in the 2017 and 2022 NAICS coding system, this would not change your partially exempt status. 

Recordkeeping – Non-Mandatory Appendix A to Subpart B — Partially Exempt Industries | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)

Final note on CFR 1904. The three forms can be on your computer system.

Here is a link to the forms with directions: OSHA Forms for Recording Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

Next, the bloodborne pathogen rule, OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030.

This standard governs the requirement to maintain a recording of all needlesticks injuries. The standard applies mostly to the medical field or to any company that may have a potential exposure to contaminated needlesticks and or blood and bodily fluids. The employer must maintain a sharps injury log unless it is exempt under Part 1904 — Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. (See the above link)

The term sharps refer to needlesticks. Employees who have experienced an accidental needlestick to any part of their body have a potential to contract an illness. The employer is required to record that incident on the 300 Log as an injury. If the employee is diagnosed thru testing and has contracted a disease the employer must go back to the 300 Log and reclassify the injury as an illness.

Employees who have had exposure to a splash of blood or any potentially infectious material must record the incident on the 300 Log as a privacy case.

The next required OSHA paperwork pertains to medical records.

The standard, OSHA CFR 1910.1020 Access to employee exposure and medical records. , has been around since 1996 and was updated in 2011. Briefly, this OSHA standard is applicable when an employer is required to submit the employee to a medical test to record some aspect of health exposure. At that point, the test becomes a medical record and is required to be kept by the employer for the employee’s length of employment and an additional 30 years. Yep, 30 years.

What other OSHA standards apply to this standard?

Let us start with the two most common standards: OSHA CFR 1910.134 Respiratory Protection and OSHA CFR 1910.94 Hearing Conservation Program.

The respiratory standard requires each employee who are required to wear a respirator (definition of respirator):

Air-purifying respirator means a respirator with an air-purifying filter, cartridge, or canister that removes specific air contaminants by passing ambient air through the air-purifying element.

Atmosphere-supplying respirator means a respirator that supplies the respirator user with breathing air from a source independent of the ambient atmosphere and includes supplied-air respirators (SARs) and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units.

to complete a required medical evaluation by a licensed health care professional. Here is a link to form:

1910.134 App C – OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (Mandatory). | Occupational Safety and Health Administration

That medical evaluation is a medical record.

The second standard, Hearing Conservation Program, requires the employer in general industry only (does not apply to construction) to conduct a baseline hearing test for each employee upon entering the company and to conduct a required annual audiometric hearing test to compare to the baseline.

The test is required for employees who will have a potential exposure to noise at or above 85 decibels measured on an 8-hour time weighted average.

Other standards that fall under the medical records requirements are just to name a few:

CFR 1910.1001 Asbestos

CFR 1910.1025 Lead

CFR 1910.1028 Benzene

CFR 1910.1048 Formaldehyde

CFR 1910.1052 Methylene Chloride

CFR 1910.1053 Respirable Crystalline Silica

Good luck with keeping those records. For more information, please see www.osha.gov.

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