Articles | Cases

OSHA Form 300A posting date approaching, plus OSHA's plans for recordkeeping changes

With OSHA's ramped up inspection efforts, it's particularly important that employers know and abide by OSHA's reporting requirements to avoid citation and penalties. While there are exemptions, most employers with ten or more employees must maintain an OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses throughout the year and record a summary on the 300A, also called the Annual Summary form, and post no later than February 1, 2014.

Recording the incidents on OSHA forms should not be taken lightly. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea only to provide the mandatory information, as the forms can be admissible in court proceedings.

All establishments covered by Part 1904 must complete the summary page, even if no work-related injuries or illnesses occurred during the year and a company executive must sign and certify it. The form must then be posted for three months in a common area of the workplace, from February 1 to April 30. Employers must keep the records for five years following the calendar year covered by them, and if the employer sells the business, he or she must transfer the records to the new owner. For a copy of the form visit

Exemptions apply to employers with 10 or fewer employees during the calendar year and low hazard business classifications as spelled out on the webpage.

All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (P.L. 91-596) must report to OSHA any workplace incident resulting in a fatality or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees within eight hours of the incident, regardless of the number of workers a business employs.

Plans for record keeping changes

OSHA plans to update the list of industries that are partially exempt from the requirement to maintain a log of occupational injuries and illnesses. The new rule, which is expected by April 2014, would replace the current list of exempt industries.

It would also revise employer requirements to report fatalities and certain injuries. The proposed reporting requirement for inpatient hospitalizations would be reduced from three workers to one.

Most controversial is a proposed rule that would expand OSHA's legal authority to collect and publicly post injury and illness information and require certain employers to electronically send the data to the agency. If implemented, the new rule will require employers with 250 or more workers (including full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers) at peak employment during the prior calendar year to submit to OSHA every quarter the individual entries on their OSHA 300 Logs and the information entered on each OSHA 301 Incident Report.

OSHA would then post the data on its public website after removing employees' identifying information. The proposed rule would also require employers with 20 or more workers in designated industries to submit information electronically from their 300A Annual Summary forms to OSHA, which OSHA also intends to publicize. Under the proposed rule, any employer who receives notification of a request from OSHA must submit information from its injury and illness records (i.e., 300 Logs, 301 forms, and 300A Annual Summaries) for the time periods specified in OSHA's notification. Additional information is available on the OSHA website. OSHA is accepting comments on the proposed rule through February 6, 2014.