OSHA Record Keeping
As part of the tracking process, a company must comply with OSHA's record-keeping requirements for occupational injuries and illnesses. Any occupational illness that has resulted in an abnormal condition or disorder caused by exposure to environmental factors, which may be acute or chronic due to inhalation, absorption, ingestion, or direct contact with toxic substances or harmful agents, and any repetitive motion injury, is to be classified as an illness. All illnesses are recordable, regardless of severity. Injuries are recordable under the following conditions:
- 1. An on-the-job death occurs (regardless of length of time between injury and death).
- 2. One or more lost workdays occur.
- 3. Restriction of work or motion transpires.
- 4. Loss of consciousness occurs.
- 5. The worker is transferred to another job.
- 6. The worker receives medical treatment beyond first aid.
Many companies conduct accident investigations and keep accident records and other data on the company's safety and health initiatives. If a company has a sufficient number of accidents/incidents and enough detail in their occupational injury/illness investigation data, the company can begin to examine trends or emerging issues relevant to their safety and health intervention/prevention effort. The analysis of these data can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of safety and health at various workplaces and jobsites, or for groups of workers. The safety and health data can be used by a company to compare to other companies that perform similar work, employ a comparable workforce, or compete in the same kind and size of market on a state, regional, national, or international basis.
By analyzing the company's accidents/incidents, companies are in a better position to compare apples to apples rather than apples to oranges. Companies not only will be able to identify the types of injuries, types of accidents, and types of causes, but they will also be able to intervene and provide recommendations for preventing these accidents/incidents in the future. Companies will be able to say with confidence that "I do" or "I do not" have a safety and health problem. If a company finds that it has a problem, the analysis and data will be essential, especially if it is trying to elicit advice on how to address their safety and health needs.
Gathering and analyzing accident/incident data is not the company's entire safety and health program but a single element. Data provide feedback and evaluative information as companies proceed toward accomplishing their safety and health goals; thus, data contribute an important component in the analysis process.