By Brian Zaidman, Research Analyst, Research and Statistics, Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry
Reprinted from "Safety Lines: The Newsletter of Minnesota OSHA," Spring 2005.
Editor's note: This is the second installment of a series about using the OSHA Form 300 and summarizing its results. This information is directed to people who are new to OSHA recordkeeping activities, to people who might be unfamiliar with the 2002 recordkeeping changes and to people who want to review their recordkeeping practices. This installment deals with case classification.
The first installment of this series discussed the basic OSHA recordkeeping requirements, describing the
conditions for including an injury or illness on the OSHA log. Employers must record all work-related injuries
and illnesses that result in:
After entering the initial case information, employers must decide how to classify the case.
The log presents four columns (G through J, see figure), only one of which can be selected, based on
the most serious outcome for that case.
- loss of consciousness,
- medical treatment beyond first aid,
- days away from work,
- restriction of work or
- transfer to another job.
The instructions that come with the OSHA log, in the packet OSHA forms for recording work-related injuries and illnesses,
state on pages 2 and 6, that the columns are arranged from the most serious
– death (column G) – to the least serious – other recordable cases (column J). This means that days away from work is a more serious outcome than job transfer or restriction. The following are some tips for deciding the classification of each case and properly recording it in the log.
In some instances, an injured worker need not have missed any days away from work or worked with any restrictions, yet the case would be recorded as either a days-away-from-work case or as a job transfer or restriction case. What happens if a worker is injured on a Friday or just before a holiday, a vacation or the end of the year, or if the restrictions are ignored? These circumstances are addressed on pages 8, 9 and 10 of
Minnesota OSHA recordkeeping requirements. The following are tips for these situations.
- The seriousness of the outcomes does not depend on the number of days associated with each outcome. A case with at least one day away from work is recorded with a check in column H (days away from work) even if the worker had 180 days of job transfer.
- A days-away-from-work case needs to have at least one day recorded in column K; if there were any days of job transfer or restriction, these would be recorded in column L. (See the second example entry in the figure.)
- A case with job transfer or restriction, but no days away from work, will not have any days recorded in column K, but it needs to have at least one day recorded in column L. (See third example entry in the figure.)
- A partial day of work is recorded as a day of job transfer or restriction, except for the day on which the injury occurred or the illness began.
- If a case involves medical treatment beyond first aid, but the injured worker never has a day away from work or a day of partial work after the day the injury occurred or the illness began, put a check in column J (Other recordable cases). No days would be entered in either columns K or L. (See the fourth example entry in the figure.)
- If a worker becomes injured or ill on a Friday and reports to work on a Monday, and was not scheduled to work on the weekend, then the classification depends on information from a physician or other licensed health care professional. If the health care provider furnishes information that the employee should not have worked or should have performed only restricted work during the weekend, then record the injury or illness as a case with days away from work or restricted work and enter the appropriate day counts.
- If a worker becomes injured or ill the day before a scheduled time off, record the case as days away from work or restricted work if the health care provider furnishes information that the employee should not have worked or should have performed only restricted work during the scheduled time off. Then enter the appropriate day count.
- If the injury or illness occurs in one year, but there are no days away from work until the next year, record the case as a days-away-from-work case in the year the injury or illness first occurred. Each injury or illness is only recorded once, in the year that it first occurred. Update the log from the earlier year and do not record any information about the injury or illness in the next year's log.
- If an injured worker ignores the licensed health care provider's restrictions and does all of his or her routine job functions, record the injury or illness on the OSHA log as a restricted work case. However, if different health care providers furnish conflicting recommendations, decide which is the most authoritative information and record the case based on that recommendation.
- There is much more detail available about the finer points of defining a job restriction or transfer. The online resources listed below are available to instruct you in these finer points.
Federal OSHA recordkeeping resources
MNOSHA recordkeeping resources
MNOSHA WSC recordkeeping training
Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses
Packet of recordkeeping forms, instructions
Booklet: Minnesota OSHA recordkeeping requirement