LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney William Fulton Broemer | Jun 30, 2013

Correcting OSHA 300 Logs

The Procedure for, and Ramifications of, Modifying an OSHA 300 Log.

OSHA’S RECORD-KEEPING RULE

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA") standard on Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (29 CFR § 1904) describes the responsibilities of employers and the rights of employees regarding work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. It also provides several forms for recording injuries and illnesses.

WHO IS COVERED

Sections 1904.1 and 1904.2 establish that the recording rules apply to private sector employers with more than 10 employees, while state and local government employers are covered in states with federally approved state OSHA plans. Employers in industries considered “low hazard"are not required to keep injury records (these industries are listed in 29 CFR § 1904 Subpart B, Appendix A). However, these employers are still required to report any workplace incident that results in a death or causes 3 or more employees to be hospitalized. 29 CFR § 1904.2 (a)(1).

REQUIREMENTS

Employers are required to record injuries and illnesses which affect workers who they supervise on a day-to-day basis. 29 CFR § 1904.31(a). Employers must record occupational injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 Log and the OSHA 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report and workers and union representatives have the right to review and obtain copies of these records.29 CFR § 1904.35(b)(2).

The Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300) is used to classify work-related injuries and illnesses and to note the extent and severity of each case. When an incident occurs, the Log must be used to record specific details about what happened and how it happened. 29 CFR §1904.29(a).

The Injuries and Illness Incident Report (Form 301), or a similar form, must be used to record details for each injury or illness that is entered on the 300 Log. 29 CFR § 1904.29(a)

The Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300A) shows the totals for the year in each category. At the end of the year this needs to be posted in a visible location so that employees are aware of the injuries and illnesses occurring in the workplace. 29 CFR § 1904.29(a).

Employers must record each case on the OSHA 300 log and the Form 301 Incident Report within seven calender days after being notified that an injury or illness occurred. The employer must save the OSHA 300 Log, the Form 300A Annual Summary, any privacy case list, and the Form 301Incident Report forms for 5 years. 29 CFR § 1904.33(a).

CORRECTING LOG ERRORS

Section 1904.33(b)(1) provides that employers must update stored OSHA 300 Logs to include newly discovered recordable injuries or illnesses and to show any changes that have occurred in the classification of previously recorded injuries and illnesses. The rule requires employers to act affirmatively to correct erroneously coded entries. The rule specifies no repercussions for the employer when errors are timely corrected. Section 1904.33(b)(1) sets out a simple procedure for updating which requires nothing more than removing or lining out the original entry and entering new information. See attached. Neither Annual Summaries nor 301 Incident Reports have to be updated, but employers may correct errors in these reports at their discretion. 29 CFR §§ 1904.33(b)(2) and 1904.33(b)(3).

CONCLUSION

OSHA’s rules require employers to update OSHA 300 Logs to correct erroneous entries, to disclose newly discovered illness or injuries, and to reflect any changes that have occurred in the classification of previous recorded injuries. OSHA has further issued a letter of interpretation regarding § 1904.33. The opinion letter confirms that employers are required to update their logs, and any failure to correct errors would be considered a compliance failure. OSHA repeatedly assures employers that there is no penalty for timely correction of a 300 Log, but that failure to correct a log could be construed as non-compliance.

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