The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is highly concerned with injuries and illnesses occurring in workplaces. Accurate record keeping of these incidents allows employers to identify and potentially correct any type of systematic issues that places workers at risk. Since the passing of the OSHA, death in the workplace has fallen nearly sixty-five percent, and occupational injuries have also dropped at nearly the same rate (Cihon, 2017). The Act has two broad goals:
- Promote and ensure safe and healthy working environments for both men and women; and
- Provide a foundation for education, training, research, and information in the fields of safety and health.
In order to continuously monitor occupational injuries and illnesses, the OSHA relies upon several sources of information to determine when their inspections will occur. A specific method, if an employer has eight or more employees, is they are required to keep records and make periodic reports to the OSHA on injuries and illness. Within 24 hours of an employee becoming seriously injured the employer must report that to OSHA, and the employer must report fatalities within 8 hours (Shirley, 2001). Records must be kept for:
- Death, Loss of consciousness;
- Medical treatment other than first aid;
- One or more lost workdays; and
- Restriction of work or motion or job transfer (Cihon, 2017).
Additionally, An employer must maintain records of exposures to potentially toxic materials or harmful agents (Mannan, O’Connor, & Keren, 2019). Finally, an employee or representative of an employee that believes there has been a violation of safety or health standards may request an inspection.
Employers should keep and maintain records for more than just compliance. Properly reporting accidents and maintaining records is one way to prepare for potential litigation by listing only known facts. Drug testing may also be a part of the company policies; the accident forms should be used to determine whether or not an employee may be on drugs in the workplace and be grounds for termination (Eisenmann & Ferrari, 2016). Also, accident reports are required for workers’ compensation insurance.
By establishing a comprehensible and relevant reporting system, the workplace can potentially increase confidence in the employer and increase the culture of their organization.
Question to the tutor
Would you document workplace violence for OSHA?
Cihon, P. (2017). Employment and Labor Law 9th Edition. Boston : Cengage Learning.
Eisenmann, E., & Ferrari, L. (2016). New OSHA reporting rule also impacts drug-testing policies. Wisconsin Law Journal.
Mannan, S. M., O’Connor, M. T., & Keren, N. (2019). Patterns and trends in injuries due to chemicals based on OSHA occupational injury and illness statistics. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 349-356.
Shirley, W. A. (2001). OSHA reporting and recordkeeping amended. Chemical Engineering Process, 29.