United States: Employers Reminded To Post Annual Work Injury And Illness Summaries

Cal-OSHA has published a reminder about the requirement to post the summary of all injuries and illnesses reported in the last year in a visible and easily accessible area at each worksite. The summary of annual injury and illness is compiled in Cal-OSHA Form 300A Appendix B and must be posted from February 1 through April 30. Employees have a right to review the list of injury and illness records. CCR Title 8 14300.35 (Employee's Involvement). Form 300A needs to be completed even if the employer had no reported workplace injuries in the last year. Incidents listed on the Form 300A Log are not necessarily eligible for workers' compensation or other insurance benefits. Listing a case on the Summary does not mean that the employer or worker was at fault or that a Cal/OSHA standard was violated.

Form 300A containing information relating to employee health must be used in a manner that protects the confidentiality to the extent possible while the information is being used for Occupational Health and Safety Purposes. CCR Title 8 14300.29(b)(6)-(10). For this reason, 300A Appendix A – the Log is not to be posted whereas 300A Appendix B – the Summary is the portion that needs to be posted.

WHICH WORK-RELATED INJURIES AND ILLNESSES SHOULD YOU RECORD?

An injury or illness is considered work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to the condition or significantly aggravated a preexisting condition. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the workplace, unless an exception specifically applies. See CCR Title 8 14300.5(b)(2) for the exceptions. The work environment includes the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. See CCR Title 8 14300.5(b)(1).

You must record any significant work-related injury or illness that is diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional. You also must record any work-related case involving cancer, chronic irreversible disease, a fractured or cracked bone, or a punctured eardrum. See CCR Title 8 14300.7.

Additional criteria that require recording include the following work-related incidents:

  •  Any needlestick injury or cut from a sharp object that is contaminated with another person's blood or other potentially infectious material
  •  Any case requiring an employee to be medically removed under Cal/OSHA requirements
  •  Tuberculosis infection as evidenced by a positive skin test or diagnosis by a physician or health care professional
  •  An employee's adverse hearing test (audiogram) reveals diminished functionality following an industrial event.

WHAT ABOUT FIRST AID SITUATIONS?

Incidents requiring first aid as the form of treatment do not need to be listed. OSHA examples of nonreportable first aid include:

  •  Using nonprescription medications at nonprescription strength from first aid kit
  •  Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the skin Surface
  • Using wound coverings, such as bandages
  •  BandAids", gauze pads, etc., or using SteriStrips" or butterfly bandages
  •  Using hot or cold therapy
  •  Using any totally non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc.
  •  Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (splints, slings, neck collars or back boards)
  •  Drilling a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluids from blisters
  •  Using eye patches
  •  Using simple irrigation or a cotton swab to remove foreign bodies not embedded in or adhered to the eye
  •  Using irrigation, tweezers, cotton swab or other simple means to remove splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye
  •  Drinking fluids to relieve heat stress

Visit to a doctor or health care professional solely for observation or counseling is not recordable.

PRIVACY CONCERNS: UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE EMPLOYEE'S NAME NOT BE ENTERED ON THE FORM 300A LOG?

The following types of injuries or illnesses should be regarded as privacy concern cases and the employee's name should not be listed on the Form 300A Log:

  •  An injury or illness to an intimate body part or to the reproductive system
  •  An injury or illness resulting from a sexual assault
  •  A mental illness
  •  A case of HIV infection, hepatitis or tuberculosis
  •  A needlestick injury or cut from a sharp object that is contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious material (see CCR Title 8 14300.8 for definition)
  •  Other illnesses, if the employee independently and voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log.

For these cases, the words "privacy case" should be entered in the space normally used for the employee's name. You must keep a separate, confidential list of the case numbers and employee names for the establishment's privacy concern cases so that you can update the cases and provide information to the government if asked to do so. If you have a reasonable basis to believe that information describing the privacy concern case may be personally identifiable even though the employee's name has been omitted, you may use discretion in describing the injury or illness on both the 300A Appendix A Log and the 300A Appendix B Summary. You must enter enough information to identify the cause of the incident and the general severity of the injury or illness, but you do not need to include details of an intimate or private nature.

HOW LONG MUST THE EMPLOYER KEEP THE LOG AND SUMMARY ON FILE?

You must keep the Log and Summary for five years following the year to which they pertain.

Best practice dictates that for any listed incident on the Form 300A Log, there should be a corresponding document such as a Form 5020 (Employer's First Report of Occupational Injury) or a memo of incident/illness or medical condition reporting in the employee's file.

The Cal-OSHA Recordkeeping Website is at www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/etools/recordkeeping/index.html

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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