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Do You Know the OSHA Record Keeping Requirements for Your Business?

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When you run a business, the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) wants to make sure you're keeping your employees safe. Depending on your industry and number of employees, you might need to keep up with extra OSHA record keeping for serious injuries and illnesses. Here's what you need to do to keep effective records.

What Businesses Need OSHA Records?

The OSHA record-keeping requirements only apply to some businesses. First, you must keep records if you have more than 10 employees. If you have 10 employees or fewer, you do not need to keep OSHA records.

Also, the requirements only apply to certain industries. Some low-risk industries don't have to keep records unless OSHA specifically asks the business owner to do so. You can go to OSHA's website to find a list of exempt industries. Plumbers, contractors, HVAC services and electricians all need to keep records if they have more than 10 employees.

What Do You Need To Do?

If your business requires OSHA record keeping, there are three forms to fill out. First, any time an employee gets seriously hurt, ill, or killed on the job, you need to fill out OSHA Forms 300 and 301.

On these forms, you list the employee's personal information, their doctor's contact information, a description of the accident, and the consequences of the accident (how many days of work did the employee miss, did they go to the hospital, etc.).

You also need to fill out Form 300A, a summary of your workplace illnesses and injuries for the year. Sometime between February and April, you need to fill out and post this form in your workplace to let employees know what injuries and illnesses happened the previous year. You need to post this form even if you didn't have any workplace incidents.

When Do You Report to OSHA?

For most of the forms, you just keep them in your own records. You must hold onto your OSHA records for at least five years after filling them out.
You don't need to send the reports to OSHA. Instead, they'll look over your records when they inspect your business. You only need to report an incident to OSHA if it led to a fatality, an amputation, a loss of an eye or a hospitalization.

You also do not need to record every single workplace injury. You only record when an injury/illness leads to death, loss of consciousness, missed days of work, medical care beyond first aid and/or the employee changing their job duties because of the injury.

OSHA lists several basic first aid situations where you don't need to report, such as cleaning a wound, putting on a bandage, and using tweezers to remove splinters and other foreign materials.

Staying Organized

You should keep your OSHA records in one place sorted by date so it's easy to track what accidents happened over the years. When an OSHA inspector visits your business, one of their first moves will be to look at your records. If your records are organized, it gives a good impression and shows you take workplace safety seriously. If your records are disorganized, the inspector might wonder if there are other problems and could be tougher with their workplace review.

Even if your business isn't required to keep OSHA records, it's still a good habit to maintain. You'll track problems and can figure out how to improve workplace safety. Also, after your business expands, you'll need to start OSHA reporting so it's good to learn how as soon as possible.

Keeping up with OSHA's requirements takes a little work but it's for a good cause. By following this advice, you'll be ready for an OSHA inspection.