Going into 2014, OSHA is continuing its focus of inspecting and, when alleged violations found, citing employers under its recordkeeping standard. Proper recordkeeping has become more critical to employers since OSHA recently issued a proposed rule to publish, in certain cases, the injury and illness data provided by employers.
All employers required to maintain the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 300 Logs for workplace injuries and illnesses must post their 2013 annual summary by February 1, 2014, utilizing the annual summary form (form 300A). The form is available for downloading from the OSHA website at https://www.osha.gov. Note that even if you have no recordable injury or illness, you must still complete your 300 logs and post the 300A summary.
Here are some additional details that are frequently misunderstood or overlooked and which could result in OSHA citations.
OSHA’s recordkeeping standard requires a certification of the 300A logs by a company executive. OSHA has identified four specific management officials who it considers to be a “company executive” for purposes of certifying the 300A Logs. These are: 1) an owner of the company; 2) an officer of the corporation; 3) the highest-ranking company official working at the establishment; or 4) the immediate supervisor of the highest-ranking company official working at the establishment. This official must certify that he or she has reviewed the related records and reasonably believes, based on knowledge of the process underlying the development of the data, that the posted summary is accurate and complete.
OSHA describes this requirement as imposing “senior management accountability” for the integrity and accuracy of the reported date. NOTE: HR Managers or Safety Directors normally cannot sign the OSHA 300A summary unless they are an officer of the company.
Number Of Employees And Hours Worked
The annual summary provision requires employers to include a calculation of the annual average number of employees covered by the Log and the total hours worked by all covered employees. The purpose of this requirement is to help employers compare the relative frequency of significant occupational injuries and illnesses at their workplace as compared to other establishments.
The posting period is for three months, from February 1st to April 30th. The 300A summary must be posted in each establishment in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted. You must provide copies of the 300A summary to any employee who may not see the posted summary because they do not report to a fixed location on a regular basis.
Where the establishment has had no recordable injuries or illnesses, post the 300A summary with zeros in the appropriate lines. It still must be certified by a company executive.
Before the annual summary is prepared, the recordkeeping rule imposes an express duty on the employer to review the Log (form 300) to verify that entries are complete and accurate. Employers must review the records as “extensively as necessary” to ensure their accuracy.
OSHA continues its focus on recordkeeping through enforcement, so take time to review the forms for technical errors as well as to review accident reports and other materials, and ensure that all recordable incidents have been included. An employer has a duty to update and maintain records for five years plus the current year and provide them for inspection by OSHA investigators.
Finally, employers are under a duty to ensure that the posted annual summary is not altered, defaced or obscured during the entire posting period.