In accordance with Title 29 CFR § 1904 (Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor requires that all new or significant work-related employee injuries and illnesses that occur in industries and at workplaces under its jurisdiction be recorded using OSHA Forms 300 (Log), 300A (Summary), and 301 (Incident Report).
Definitions of "New" and "Work-Related"
A new injury or illness is one that is not a general aggravation of a previous injury or illness.
A work-related injury or illness is one that does not involve an employee who: voluntarily participates in a wellness program, prepares and consumes his/her own food, self-grooms, self-medicates, has cold/flu, or suffers symptoms at work for something totally due to outside causes. Work-related injuries or illnesses include fractures, punctured ear drums, cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, and significant aggravation of any pre-existing condition due to workplace events and/or exposure.
General Recording Criteria
Generally speaking, OSHA and BLS reporting rules require that an official report be made whenever an employee suffers death, additional days of leave, restricted duty, reassignment, medical treatment, loss of consciousness, and/or a medical diagnosis of a significant illness or injury as a result of any work-related injury and illness.
If an employee receives only first aid, the injury or illness is not recordable. First aid includes: administering over-the-counter medication at non-prescription strength, tetanus immunizations, hot/cold therapy, or fluids for heat stress; using non-rigid supports, temporary immobilization devices, eye patches, finger guards, massages; treating surface skin wounds with non-suture bandages; draining blisters; drilling fingernails/toenails; and irrigating foreign bodies from eyes. Routine medical office visits and diagnostic procedures are also not recordable.
Specific Recordable Disorders and Conditions
Specifically, if an employee experiences a Standard Threshold Shift (STS) with a total hearing level of at least 25 dB above audiometric zero, it must be recorded. Also, any type of needlestick is recordable. And employees who test poistive for TB as a result of a workplace exposure to active TB disease fall into the recordable category.
Unless OHSA and/or BLS specifically informed an employer that has had less than ten employees during the previous calendar year that that particular employer is required to record injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace, such employers are exempt from doing so.
Additionally, certain industries that have a small hazard factor--retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate--are also exempt from recording. A few examples of these industries include: food-related establishments, personal grooming establishments, automobile sales establishments, educational and cultural institutions, and professional medical and legal services offices.