Pretty soon, a lot of employers will be required to submit injury summary reports to OSHA every year. If your business is involved in a high-risk industry, it might be beneficial for you to quickly review OSHA’s standards for injury and illness reporting.
What is a Reportable Injury?
OSHA requires you to record (and eventually report) any work-related injury or illness that meets any of the following criteria:
- Any incident that results in the death of a worker
- Any incident that results in a worker losing consciousness
- Any incident that causes a worker to take days off of work to recover
- Any incident that forces a worker to restrict their work, or transfer jobs
- Any incident that requires treatment beyond first aid
Those criteria might not seem very specific, but every term in there has an OSHA-defined meaning. Let’s go into those now.
What Does Work-Related Mean?
For the purposes of OSHA reporting, any injury or illness that is caused by, contributed to by, or aggravated by an event at work or the environment of a workplace. OSHA automatically assumes that any incident that happens at work is work-related. Keep in mind that for OSHA’s purposes anywhere that workers are required to be as part of their job is work-related (even if it doesn’t happen on company property).
What Does OSHA Mean by Restricted Days?
When a healthcare professional (or a supervisor) says that a worker is in too much physical distress to continue with their normal duties, they might still work in a diminished (or restricted) capacity. Every day that an employee “takes it easy” is a restricted day.
What Does OSHA Mean by First Aid?
OSHA has a very specific definition of what constitutes first aid. You can find the list here, but it mainly boils down to any simple medical procedure that can be performed at the scene of the incident by a person with no medical training. Keeping your employees trained in first aid allows you to keep your official workplace incident rate down, since you automatically must report any injury that requires you to call an ambulance.
What Other Incidents Must Be Reported?
Some categories of injury and illness are deemed to be too serious to go un-reported. As such, OSHA provides a list of incidents that must always be recorded and reported:
- You have to report if an employee’s skin is cut or punctured by a used needle (or anything else that might get somebody else’s blood in their wound)
- A diagnosis of Tuberculosis
- If an employee fails a hearing test, you must report it to OSHA
- If an employee requires medical evacuation, you have to report the inciting event to OSHA
Before long, records of these kinds of injuries will become far more available to the general public. This means that a poor safety record will have a much greater negative impact on your company than it might have in the past. Prevent harm to your workers and your company by taking steps to reduce major lapses in safety.