By: Lisa Nagele-Piazza, J.D., SHRM-SCP for SHRM
Employers that are covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) record-keeping rule must post a summary of 2018 work-related injury and illnesses in a noticeable place from Feb. 1 to April 30. Here are some compliance tips for employers to review.
Many employers with more than 10 employees—except for those in certain low-risk industries—must keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. But minor injuries that are treated only by first aid do not need to be recorded.
Employers must complete an incident report (Form 301) for each injury or illness and log work-related incidents on OSHA Form 300. Form 300A is a summary of the information in the log that must be posted in the worksite from Feb. 1 to April 30 each year.
“This information helps employers, workers and OSHA evaluate the safety of a workplace, understand industry hazards, and implement worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards,” according to OSHA’s website.
Employers should note that they are required to keep a separate 300 log for each “establishment,” which is defined as “a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed.”
If employees don’t work at a single physical location, then the establishment is the location from which the employees are supervised or that serves as their base.
Employers frequently ask if they need to complete and post Form 300A if there were no injuries at the relevant establishment. “The short answer is yes, ” said Tressi Cordaro, an attorney with Jackson Lewis in Washington, D.C. “If an employer recorded no injuries or illnesses in 2018 for that establishment, then the employer must enter ‘zero’ on the total line.”
Before the OSHA Form 300A is posted in the worksite, a company executive must review it and certify that “he or she has examined the OSHA 300 Log and that he or she reasonably believes, based on his or her knowledge of the process by which the information was recorded, that the annual summary is correct and complete,” according to OSHA.
A common mistake seen on 300A forms is that companies forget to have them signed, noted John Martin, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Washington, D.C.
There are only four company representatives who may certify the summary:
- An owner of the company.
- An officer of the corporation.
- The highest-ranking company official working at the site.
- The immediate supervisor of the highest-ranking company official working at the site.
Businesses commonly make the mistake of having an HR or safety supervisor sign the form, said Edwin Foulke Jr., an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and the former head of OSHA under President George W. Bush.
They need to get at least the plant manager to sign it, he said, noting that the representative who signs Form 300A must know how numbers in the summary were obtained.
Once the 300A form is completed, it should be posted in a conspicuous place where other employment notices are usually posted.
The Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule requires covered establishments with at least 20 employees to also electronically submit Form 300A to OSHA.
Large establishments with 250 or more employees were also supposed to begin electronically submitting data from the 300 and 301 forms in 2018, but the federal government recently eliminated that requirement. However, those establishments still must electronically submit their 300A summaries.
The deadline to electronically submit 2018 information is March 2.