There are many federal and state laws that regulate how businesses can operate and manage their workers. While some industry-specific organizations set requirements, most regulations come from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Violating OSHA rules or failing to report illnesses or injuries promptly can cost your business thousands of dollars in fines.
One example is posting your OSHA Form 300. There are recordkeeping standards set by OSHA that must be completed from February 1 to April 30 each year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health pandemic, OSHA recently released updated reporting requirements that may impact your business.
OSHA Injury Reporting Requirements
The essential recordkeeping requirement established by OSHA is filling out Form 300. This is a log that companies must use to keep a record of every work-related injury or illness. Details that need to be written on the form include the name, job title of the injured employee and the date, time and location of the injury. A new Form 300 should be filled out each calendar year to comply with recordkeeping requirements and avoid fines.
According to official OSHA guidance, the following incidents must be recorded on Form 300:
- Any work-related death
- Any work-related injury or illness that results in unconsciousness, days off work or transfer to another job assignment
- Any workplace injury or illness needing medical attention beyond basic first aid
- Any work-related case of cancer, chronic disease, fractured or cracked bones or teeth, or pierced eardrums
- Any work-related incident involving needlesticks and other sharps injuries
If a work-related injury or illness occurs, it should be recorded within seven days of the incident in the Form 300 log and the Form 301 Incident Report. Most businesses operating in high-risk industries that employ more than 10 employees must report workplace injuries and illnesses on OSHA Form 300. Employers can report injuries or illnesses to OSHA in person, over the phone or by filling out the online form.
COVID-19 OSHA Reporting Requirements
OSHA recently published updated reporting requirements regarding COVID-19 deaths and illnesses. Under this new guidance, employers are required to report COVID-19-related deaths more frequently and should also continue to report numerous COVID-19 infections among their workers. A hospitalization because of a COVID-19 illness must occur within 24 hours of workplace exposure to the virus to be reportable. Due to COVID-19’s lengthy incubation period, employers will rarely have to report a workplace hospitalization case. Further, the employer is required to report the incident to OSHA within one day of finding out that the hospitalization is due to a workplace case of COVID-19.
Employers must report deaths from a workplace COVID-19 infection when a worker dies within one month of workplace exposure. Companies have eight hours from realizing the fatality was related to a workplace COVID-19 exposure to report the case to OSHA.
OSHA recently published a press release to amend some of its recordkeeping laws. Under the new guidance, companies with 250 or more employees don’t have to submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301 to the agency. However, these companies must continue to submit information found on OSHA Form 300A electronically. The regulation requiring employers to keep internal records of Forms 300, 300A and 301 for five years remains in place.
Tips for COVID-19 Incident Response
There are certain steps employers can take to help safety respond to a workplace COVID-19 incident, staying in compliance with OSHA and minimizing liability risk. That includes:
- Familiarize yourself with all federal and state reporting regulations. Check agency websites regularly for updated guidance regarding COVID-19 incidents.
- Consider whether notification is required for each specific incident. You want to avoid providing unnecessary documentation while remaining compliant at all times.
- Complete a thorough investigation of each workplace incident.
- Meet requirements for identifying and notifying all employees that have potentially been exposed to the virus.
- Update your company’s policies to include COVID-19 rules and regulations.
All OSHA COVID-19 reporting guidelines will remain in place until further notice. Check the OSHA website regularly throughout the year for more updates.
And, keep Clarion Safety in mind when updating your visual safety communications in line with changes to regulations or your internal policies. We have a full line-up of COVID-19 safety signs and floor markers – and limitless custom options! We’re always here to answer any questions you may have on warnings and identification.