OSHA requires many businesses to maintain records of employees affected by serious work-related illnesses and injuries. Except for some low-risk industries, these regulations apply to most companies that employ more than ten people. Companies don’t need to report small injuries treated with basic first aid, but businesses need to make sure they fully understand what injuries they must report to remain compliant.
What Does OSHA Consider a Recordable Illness or Injury?
OSHA defines recordable incidents as any work-related illness or injury that:
- Causes a fatality
- Renders the employee unconscious, restricts their ability to work, forces them to take time off work, or transfers them to a different job
- Results in a cancer diagnosis, chronic permanent diseases, punctured eardrums, or fractured or cracked teeth or bones
- Requires treatment beyond simple first aid
OSHA also requires different recording criteria for certain workplace illnesses or injuries. For example, needlesticks, hearing loss, tuberculosis, etc.
What Does OSHA Consider First Aid?
Companies don’t need to report work-related illnesses or injuries that only require basic first aid. OSHA describes first aid as:
- Administering tetanus shots
- Cleaning the surface of wounds, including flushing or soaking
- Applying Band-Aids, gauze, butterfly bandages, or Steri-Strips to wounds
- Supporting injuries with non-rigid means, such as elastic wraps
- Using finger guards
- Temporary support devices to immobilize body parts while transporting employees from accidents
- Puncturing a nail to relieve pressure
- Using only irrigation or cotton swabs to remove foreign bodies from the eye
- Using irrigation, cotton swabs, or tweezers to remove foreign bodies or splinters from the body (other than the eye)
- Applying eye patches
- Draining blister fluid
- Simple massage
- Providing drinking water for heat stress
OSHA considers the following as medical treatment that requires recording:
- Prescription medications or non-prescription medications taken at prescription strength per a doctor’s orders
- Injuries requiring advanced wound-closing tools, such as stitches or staples
- Rigid or stabilizing support intended to immobilize injured body parts long-term (e.g., hard casts)
- Physical therapy or chiropractic care
- Immunizations for rabies, hepatitis B, etc.
Employers don’t need to report certain incidents, including hospitalizations purely for diagnostics or observation, injuries that occur while using commercial or public transportation, and vehicular accidents on public roads. However, OSHA does require businesses to report vehicle accidents that occur in construction zones.
OSHA violations can cost companies thousands of dollars. Repeat violations can cost businesses almost $150,000 per incident. Understanding the safety regulations is essential to remain compliant. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn more about improving your company’s safety profile to avoid OSHA violations and fines.