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Employer Requirements to Recording Injuries and Illnesses

The OSH Act of 1970 requires the Secretary of Labor to produce regulations that require employers in certain industries to keep records of occupational deaths, injuries, and illnesses. The records are used for several purposes.

Injury and illness statistics are used by OSHA. OSHA collects data through the OSHA Data Initiative (ODI) to help direct its programs and measure its own performance. Inspectors also use the data during inspections to help direct their efforts to the hazards that are hurting workers.

The records are also used by employers and employees to implement safety and health programs at individual workplaces. Analysis of the data is a widely recognized method for discovering workplace safety and health problems and for tracking progress in solving those problems.

The records provide the base data for the BLS Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the Nation's primary source of occupational injury and illness data


What is the effect of workers' compensation reports on the OSHA records?

The purpose section of the rule includes a note to make it clear that recording an injury or illness neither affects a person's entitlement to workers' compensation nor proves a violation of an OSHA rule. The rules for compensability under workers' compensation differ from state to state and do not have any effect on whether or not a case needs to be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log. Many cases will be OSHA recordable and compensable under workers' compensation. However, some cases will be compensable but not OSHA recordable, and some cases will be OSHA recordable but not compensable under workers' compensation.


The Purpose of Recordkeeping

The recordkeeping and reporting rule requires employers to record and report work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses. It's important to know that recording or reporting a work-related injury, illness, or fatality:

  • does not assign fault to anybody
  • does not prove the violation of an OSHA rule
  • does not establish the employee's eligibility for workers' compensation or other benefits

Scope of the Rule

All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) are covered by these Part 1904 regulations. However, most employers do not have to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) informs them in writing that they must keep records. For example, employers with 10 or fewer employees and business establishments in certain industry classifications are partially exempt from keeping OSHA injury and illness records.


Recording Rule Exemptions

Employers in certain industries are not required to keep OSHA injury and illness records (visit this OSHA webpage for a list of partially exempted industries), unless they are asked in writing to do so by OSHA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), or a state agency operating under the authority of OSHA or the BLS. All employers, including those partially exempted by reason of company size or industry classification, must report to OSHA any workplace incident that results in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

If your company had ten (10) or fewer employees at all times during the last calendar year, you do not need to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless your State Plan or Federal OSHA Director or the BLS informs you in writing that you must keep records under Section 1904.41 or Section 1904.42. However, as required by Section 1904.39, all employers covered by the OSH Act must report to OSHA any workplace incident that results in one or more fatalities or the hospitalization of three or more employees.

  • If your company had more than ten (10) employees at any time during the last calendar year, you must keep OSHA injury and illness records unless your establishment is classified as a partially exempt industry under Section 1904.2.

  • The partial exemption for size is based on the number of employees in the entire company.
  • To determine if you are exempt because of size, you need to determine your company's peak employment during the last calendar year. If you had no more than 10 employees at any time in the last calendar year, your company qualifies for the partial exemption for size.


Alternate or Duplicate Records

If you create records to comply with another government agency's injury and illness recordkeeping requirements, OSHA will consider those records as meeting OSHA's Part 1904 recordkeeping requirements if OSHA accepts the other agency's records under a memorandum of understanding with that agency, or if the other agency's records contain the same information as this Part 1904 requires you to record. You may contact your nearest OSHA office or State agency for help in determining whether your records meet OSHA's requirements.


Criteria for Recording Injuries and Illnesses

Each employer is required to keep records of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses that:

  • are work-related
  • are new cases
  • meet one or more of the general recording criteria of Section 1904.7 or the application to specific cases of Section 1904.8 through Section 1904.11

Decision Tree

Use the decision tree below to help in determining if an injury or illness is work-related.

decision tree


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. Recording or reporting a work-related injury, illness, or fatality does which of the following?

2. 29 CFR 1904 applies to all employers covered by the _____.

3. According to 29 CFR 1904, all employers covered by the OSH Act of 1970 must report to OSHA which of the following incidents?

4. If your company never had more than ten (10) employees during the last calendar year, you do not need to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless _____.

5. Which of the following is NOT one of the criteria for recording injuries and illnesses?

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.