ICS Magazine

OSHA's new recordkeeping rule begins Jan. 1

December 17, 2001
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a new recordkeeping rule for work related injuries and illnesses, which become effective Jan. 1, 2002.

The new rule represents substantial revisions to the recordkeeping requirements, which apply to manufacturers and distributors with more than 10 employees and been expanded to also cover janitorial services. The requirements have been in place since the early 1970s.

In addition to establishing new recordkeeping forms (OSHA 300 and 301 forms), the revision makes several significant changes to the recordkeeping requirement. Under the new rule employers must record work related injuries and illnesses that result in death, loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work activity or job transfer, or medical treatment beyond first aid.

Also, employers must record any significant work related injury or illness diagnosed by a doctor or other health care professional including cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones, or punctured eardrums. Under the new rule, days away from work will now be recorded based on the number of lost calendar days rather than lost scheduled workdays. This subtle change shifts the focus on the worker's disability rather than the economic impact to the employer, according to OSHA. The revised rule also changes the former definition of "restricted work" to make it a little easier to apply in the workplace.

Medical treatment and first aid also have been redefined in the new rule. Observation and diagnostic tests are not considered medical treatment for the purposes of recording a case. To help employers to determine whether to record a case in which a worker has sought first aid, the rule provides a list of activities that OSHA defines as first aid.

In addition, OSHA has completely revised the reporting forms, summary forms, and survey forms so that information can be transferred readily from one form to the next, according to OSHA. Under the new rule, the annual summary of injury and illness records must now be certified by a company executive and be posted by the employer for a three month period instead of the one month period currently required. Also, all incidents in which workers suffer fatal heart attacks must now be reported to OSHA under the revised rule.

For more information on OSHA's new recordkeeping rule, go to www.osha.gov.