OSHA Releases New Reporting Forms

October 29, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) -The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has gotten final approval for new forms to report on-the-job injuries and illnesses, which will go into effect on January 1.

Overall, OSHA also made several changes in the forms and the recordkeeping rule to provide employers more flexibility, such as allowing the use of computerized records instead of the paper forms.

New Forms, Substance

The new 300 and 301 forms, and a new summary form, represent the culmination of an initiative launched in the late 1980s to simplify recordkeeping, while at the same time providing more detailed information about how accidents and illnesses occur, according to BNA’s Daily Labor Reporter.

The White House Office of Management and Budget approved the forms earlier this month after months of tweaking by the Labor Department. The forms replace OSHA 200 forms that date back to the early 1970s. Roughly 20% of the nation’s employers, some 1.3 million worksites, are required to maintain the records. Organizations with 10 or fewer employees are exempted, as are many less hazardous industries.

New Rules

Under the new rules, employers must record work-related injuries and illnesses that result in:

  • death
  • loss of consciousness
  • days away from work
  • restricted work activity
  • job transfer
  • medical treatment beyond first aid

In addition, workplaces must record any significant work-related injury or illness diagnosed by a doctor or other health care professional, including cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones, or punctured eardrums.

However, employers can use alternative means for reporting cases other than the “OSHA 301: Injury and Illness Incident Report.” Acceptable alternatives, according to directions on the forms, include “state workers compensation, insurance, or other reports … as long as they provide the same information as the OSHA 301.”

The OSHA Form 300 eliminates separate entries on the old forms for recording injuries and illnesses that forced employers to determine how to classify each incident. The new form allows employers to describe the injury or illness in the same column, along with the part of the body affected and the substance or objects that injured the employee or caused illness.

After “Effects”

The new forms are part of a larger revision of the regulations governing injury and illness recordkeeping, finalized by the Clinton administration in its waning days, and go into effect, for the most part, on Jan. 1, 2002.

The new Bush administration made several changes to the rule, primarily delaying provisions guiding the recording of hearing loss and musculoskeletal disorders (see Bush Repeals OSHA Regs ). The administration plans to resolve those issues permanently in time for employers to begin reporting injuries for calendar year 2003.

Until Jan. 1, 2002, employers must continue to comply with the original recordkeeping rule.

The forms are available on the OSHA Web site, http://www.osha-slc.gov/recordkeeping/index.html

– Nevin Adams                  editors@plansponsor.com