Based on OSHA Form 300 data, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2.6 million nonfatal injuries and workplace illnesses in 2021. While respiratory illnesses declined from 2020, injury cases rose 6.3%. Furthermore, there were 5,190 fatal injuries in 2021, an 8.9% increase from 2020.
The increasing numbers highlight a need for continual focus on improving workplace safety. This data comes from surveys of occupational fatalities and injuries and illnesses as reported in OSHA Form 300. The data is used to analyze workplace injury trends to better understand hazards and develop better safety standards.
This article looks at the basics of these important occupational health records. We examine the differences between OSHA Form 300, 300A, and 301, applicability, and what to know about electronic reporting.
What is OSHA Form 300?
Companies use OSHA 300 forms to record work-related injuries and illnesses. These forms classify workplace injuries and illnesses, noting the extent and severity of each. OSHA considers an injury or illness work-related if an incident or exposure at work causes a condition, or significantly worsens a preexisting condition.
The Difference Between OSHA Form 300, Form 300A, and Form 301
OSHA 300 forms include three separate forms used for different purposes. These include:
- OSHA Form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses: This form logs each reportable injury and illness, noting the date, where the incident occurred and how it happened. It also requires employers to classify the case and note the days away from work or on job restriction.
- OSHA Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses: Form 300A is a summary of work-related injuries or illnesses that happened throughout the previous year. Employers must post this summary in a visible location every February through April. They must also provide copies to current or former employees upon request. Some employers must report their form 300A data electronically to OSHA.
- OSHA Form 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report: Employers must complete this form within seven calendar days of a reportable incident. The agency accepts some substitutes like state workers compensation or insurance reports that provide the same information as this form.
Who Needs to Fill Out an OSHA Form 300?
Generally speaking, most employers with more than 10 employees need to maintain an OSHA Form 300 Log and OSHA Form 300A Summary. Exceptions include:
- Employers with 10 or fewer employees during the previous year
- Certain industries OSHA considers low hazard, such as retail and finance. The OSHA website contains the full list of exempt industries.
All employers, even those exempt from OSHA 300 logs, must report to OSHA within eight hours any severe injury, including:
- Inpatient hospitalization
- Loss of an eye
Companies must keep a separate OSHA Form 300 Log for each site expected to operate for one year or more. Employers must keep the Log and Summary on file for five years.
What Workplace Injuries and Illnesses must be Reported on OSHA 300 forms?
The OSHA 300 Log should record the most serious outcome of each incident. Employers must record workplace injuries or illnesses resulting in:
- Loss of consciousness
- Days away from work
- Job restriction or transfer
- Any medical treatment beyond first aid
- Significant work-related injuries or illnesses diagnosed by a doctor or other healthcare professional
- Work-related cases involving cancer, chronic disease, bone fracture, or punctured eardrum
Additional conditions employers must report include:
- Needlestick injuries or cuts from a sharp object contaminated with another person’s blood or potentially infectious substance
- Confirmed tuberculosis infection after a known exposure
- When a hearing test shows certain changes in hearing
What to Know About Electronic Reporting
Sites with 20 or more employees in specific high-hazard industries must electronically submit OSHA Form 300A data annually to the agency. Similarly, employers with 100 or more employees in the highest hazard industries must electronically submit Form 300A Summary data annually as well.
In March 2022, OSHA proposed a rule eliminating electronic reporting requirements for establishments with 250+ employees not in designated high-hazard industries. Currently, OSHA’s ITA Coverage Application can help companies determine if they must submit Form 300A data to the agency.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
To avoid compliance issues, manufacturers should be on the lookout for certain mistakes with OSHA 300 forms. The most common of these are:
- Lack of detail: Make sure to include detail about the events leading up to the incident. This includes what happened before, during, and after, as well as who was involved.
- Not recording details immediately: The longer you wait before recording an incident, the less people will remember about the details.
- Employees not reporting incidents: Educate your workforce on the importance of tracking incidents, including which injuries and illnesses they must report. Be clear that employees will not face retaliation for reporting.
In addition, it’s critical to understand if you need to submit information electronically. Regardless of company size or classification, electronic reporting software within a quality management system (QMS) can simplify the submission process. As a result, capturing incidents in the QMS enable the automatic population of forms with the required data, including Form 300, 301, and 300A. From there, companies can also submit the data electronically without manual input or uploading files.
OSHA has a variety of reporting requirements for companies of varying sizes and industries. What’s important is that employers capture incident data in a timely manner, recording details to ensure complete and compliant recordkeeping.
An electronic OSHA recordkeeping solution within the QMS can streamline reporting and ensure companies capture the right data. Not only does this help OSHA’s efforts to protect workers, it also helps organizations better understand workplace hazards. Armed with this data, manufacturers can prioritize actions to protect workers and ensure they go home healthy to their families.
Learn more about the AssurX EHS Incident Management Solution
About the Author
Stephanie Ojeda is Director of Product Management for the Life Sciences industry at AssurX. Stephanie brings more than 15 years of leading quality assurance functions in a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, food & beverage, and manufacturing.