OSHA Record Keeping: What Constitutes A Reportable Injury?

OSHA Record Keeping: What Constitutes A Reportable Injury?

Any dangerous incidents, fatalities, injuries or illnesses in the workplace can be of serious detriment to your business. The health and safety of workers needs to be protected as a priority, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the law. As a business owner it is important to know what to do if someone is injured. 

Get familiar with OSHA and what constitutes a reportable injury in our handy article…

What is OSHA?

OSHA stands for Occupational Health Services Australia, a large regulatory agency that governs safety procedures in Australia. Employers in higher-risk industries and those with employees are obliged to abide by OSHA recordkeeping requirements. The OSH Act places certain duties on employers, employees and self-employed people in order to protect the health of safety of everyone.

There is often a level of confusion around these requirements, particularly when discussing OSHA recordable vs reportable events. This is partly due to the fact that not all recordable events are reportable.

What should and shouldn’t be reported as part of OSHA?

In order to clarify these murky waters, here’s a brief overview of OSHA record-keeping requirements, with regards to recordable vs reportable events. 

Work related deaths and certain types of injuries must be reported to WorkSafe as a legal requirement. Reportable injuries need to be reported to SafeWork via an online form or phone call immediately following a major incident. 

“OSHA record keeping requirements define a reportable injury or illness as any of the following:

  • a fracture of the skull, spine or pelvis;
  • a fracture of any bone in the arm (other than in the wrists or hand) or in the leg (other than a bone in the ankle or foot);
  • an amputation of an arm, a hand, finger, finger joint, leg, foot, toe or toe joint;
  • the loss of sight of an eye; and
  • any injury other than the above which, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, is likely to prevent the employee from being able to work within 10 days of the day on which the injury occurred.”

“Types of diseases that must be reported are:

  • infectious diseases: tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, Legionnaires’ disease and HIV, where these diseases are contracted during work involving exposure to human blood products, body secretions, excretions or other material which may be a source of infection; and
  • occupational zoonoses: Q fever, anthrax, leptospirosis and brucellosis, where these diseases are contracted during work involving the handling of, or contact with, animals, animal hides, skins, wool, hair, carcasses or animal waste products”.

Source: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/injury-reporting-and-investigation-essentials-employers 

According to SafeWork Aus, “If a notifiable incident occurs the model WHS Act states that:

  • The regulator must be immediately notified.
  • Written notification must be submitted within 48 hours if requested by the regulator.
  • The incident site is preserved until an inspector arrives or directs otherwise. However this doesn’t prevent any action to help an injured person or make the site safe”.

What Are Recordable Events?

Any incident in the workplace should be recorded, however not all incidents or injuries need to be reported to OSHA.

There is some overlap between recordable vs reportable events, as a company should keep a record of all injuries at work. If OSHA requirements define a work-related health incident as reportable, it is also recordable. However, recordable events can constitute any injury, even those only requiring first aid.

Whose responsibility is it? 

Ultimately, it is the business owner who is responsible for record-keeping. But it is essential that the unit manager/authority on site knows what to do and how to report the incident upwards.

Employers must keep their incident records for a minimum of five years. Also, between February and April, they are required to post summaries of injuries from the previous year. Moreover, if requested to do so, an employer must provide copies of injury/illness summaries to current and former employees. 

How can incidents be reported?

It can be difficult to comply with OSHA record-keeping requirements. Especially in the chaotic environment surrounding a serious injury or fatality, paperwork is often the last thing on your mind. All attention is given to the employees and their families. And with the less extreme cases, paperwork can easily be put off and forgotten, or left long enough for any accurate recording to be done.

Thankfully, Beakon’s Incident Management software can provide an essential solution. Developed in partnership with leading multinational organisations, Beakon’s system can be configured to report, investigate, analyse and proactively action issues across all work disciplines. These include fields in safety, environment, quality assurance, product quality and business management.