Sorting through OSHA recordkeeping rules to decide if an employee’s injury or illness is recordable or non-recordable can be one of the trickiest aspects of a safety manager’s job.
Some recordkeeping questions are tougher than others.
Below are 5 questions we’ve been asked multiple times by safety professionals attending our presentation on OSHA’s Recordkeeping Standard 29 CFR 1904.
- Does the recordkeeping exemption for 10 or fewer employees mean per establishment or the company as a whole?
- Who has to record injuries & illnesses, contractor or facility?
- Are employee injuries and illnesses incurred at on-premise fitness centers or recreational areas recordable?
- Is the use of glue on a wound considered first aid or a medical treatment?
- Is the medical removal of an employee recordable?
The answers (following) are presented in a general nature as a service to our readers and do not in any way exempt companies or individuals from their specific compliance obligations under the same OSHA standards.
As we always mention during our presentations, for answers to specific questions related to specific incidents, you should always check with OSHA to ensure compliance.
Does the recordkeeping exemption for 10 or fewer employees mean per establishment or the company as a whole? Answer: Per company
All employers that are covered by the OSH Act are covered by standard 1904. However most employers do not have to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics informs them in writing 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.
Is the partial exemption for size based on the size of my entire company or on the size of an individual business establishment? The partial exemption for size is based on the number of employees in the entire company.
How do I determine the size of my company to find out if I qualify for the partial exemption for size? 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.
From Preamble to 1904.1
The final rule applies the size exemption based on the total number of employees in the firm, rather than the number of employees at any particular location or establishment…because the resources available in a given business depend on the size of the firm as a whole, not on the size of individual establishments owned by the firm. In addition, the analysis of injury records should be of value to the firm as a whole, regardless of the size of individual establishments. Further, an exemption based on individual establishments would be difficult to administer, especially in cases where an individual employee, such as a maintenance worker, regularly reports to work at several establishments.
Who has to record injuries & illnesses, contractor or facility? Answer: Facility – if facility is responsible for day to day supervision of contracted employee
You must record on the OSHA 300 Log the recordable injuries and illnesses of all employees on your payroll, whether they are labor, executive, hourly, salary, part-time, seasonal, or migrant workers. You also must record the recordable injuries and illnesses that occur to employees who are not on your payroll if you supervise these employees on a day-to-day basis. If your business is organized as a sole proprietorship or partnership, the owner or partners are not considered employees for recordkeeping purposes.
If a self-employed person is injured or becomes ill while doing work at my business, do I need to record the injury or illness? No, self-employed individuals are not covered by the OSH Act or this regulation.
Must the personnel supply service, temporary help service, employee leasing service, or contractor also record the injuries or illnesses occurring to temporary, leased or contract employees that I supervise on a day-to-day basis? No, you and the temporary help service, employee leasing service, personnel supply service, or contractor should coordinate your efforts to make sure that each injury and illness is recorded only once: either on your OSHA 300 Log (if you provide day-to-day supervision) or on the other employer’s OSHA 300 Log (if that company provides day-to-day supervision).
Are employee injuries and illnesses incurred at on-premise fitness centers or recreational areas recordable? Answer: No – Not if employee is engaged in voluntary activity
OSHA has decided to include recreational areas in the definition of establishment but to include voluntary fitness and recreational activities, and other wellness activities, on the list of excepted activities employers may use to rebut the presumption of work-relatedness in paragraph 1904.5(b)(2). OSHA finds that this approach is simpler and will provide better injury and illness data because recreational facilities are often multi-use areas that are sometimes used as work zones and sometimes as recreational areas…
This approach is also consistent with OSHA’s overall approach in the final rule of using specific activity based exemptions to allow the employer to rebut the presumption of work relationship rather than providing exemptions by modifying the definition of establishment. OSHA also does not believe that this approach will provide an incentive for employers to eliminate recreational and fitness opportunities for their employees. Both approaches exempt the same injuries from recording, but the final rule’s approach provides employers with a more straightforward mechanism for rebutting the presumption of work relationship.
OSHA believes that injuries and illnesses occurring to employees who are present in recreational areas as part of their assigned work duties should be recorded on the Log; the final rule thus only permits employers to exclude recreational activities that are being performed by the employee voluntarily from their Logs. For example, an injury to an exercise instructor hired by the company to conduct classes and demonstrate exercises would be considered work related, as would an injury or illness sustained by an employee who is required to exercise to maintain specific fitness levels, such as a security guard.
Is the use of glue on a wound considered first aid or a medical treatment? Answer: Glue is considered a medical treatment
From Letter of Interpretation dated August 26, 2004
The use of medical glue to close a wound is not first aid, and therefore must be considered medical treatment. First aid includes the use of the following wound-covering devices: bandages, Band Aids©, gauze pads, butterfly bandages, or Steri-Strips©, 29 CFR 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(D). Other wound-closing devices, such as sutures, staples, tapes, or glues are considered medical treatment.
Is the medical removal of an employee recordable? Answer: Yes.
Basic requirement. If an employee is medically removed under the medical surveillance requirements of an OSHA standard, you must record the case on the OSHA 300 Log.
Do I have to record a case where I voluntarily removed the employee from exposure before the medical removal criteria in an OSHA standard are met?
No, if the case involves voluntary medical removal before the medical removal levels required by an OSHA standard, you do not need to record the case on the OSHA 300 Log.
In some cases employers voluntarily rotate employees from one job to another to reduce exposure to hazardous substances; job rotation is an administrative method of reducing exposure that is permitted in some OSHA standards. Removal (job transfer) of an asymptomatic employee for administrative exposure control reasons does not require the case to be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log because no injury or illness — the first step in the recordkeeping process — exists.