Reporting on Job-Related Accidents: Explaining the Process, Plus Free Template
written by: ciel s cantoria•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 5/30/2011
Most problems on how to create a workplace accident report stem from lack of knowledge on what OSHA considers the equivalent of its prescribed Form 301. Actually, the agency's criteria are more focused on the information's acceptability based on recordability and work relevance over its formatting
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Determining the Qualifications of a Form 301-Equivalent
An important aspect of performing a work-related accident investigation is to fill out OSHA’s Form 301 “Injury and Illness Incident Report." The Occupational Safety and Health Administration allows the use of an equivalent form in lieu of Form 301, since a similar report is required by state-run OSHAs and insurers--for purposes of claiming workers' compensation and other types of insurance benefits.
However, there are certain conditions that must be met before an alternative report form is considered an acceptable OSHA equivalent for occupation-related accidents. This now is the first agenda to tackle:
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Job-Related Accident Reports Based on State Laws
The existence of separate state laws have necessitated the establishment of a separate program that meets with the approval of the federal government's OSHA. The main criterion is that the state plan must have job-related injury and illness reporting systems, the requirements of which are identical to the requirements of OSHA.
The state-run OSHA program may allow varying report requirements for a particular state or local government employer as long as the variations are approved by the federal OSHA.
The state-run OSHA may not allow a private employer to maintain job-related accident records and reporting systems that vary from the federal OSHA regulations.
If a private employer wishes to maintain such records and reports differently, the entity must first seek approval from the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health within the U.S. Department of Labor. The conditions for submitting an application for approval should meet the following conditions:
(a) The private employer meets the required information collected under the federal OSHA program.
(b) The variation in the record keeping and reporting system meets the objective of OSHA.
(c) The difference of the system being applied for will not hamper the administration of the federal OSHA program.
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Based on Workers' Compensation Report Requirements
OSHA acknowledges the fact that there are variations between the information required by the administration from those required by the providers of workers’ compensation. These stem from the distinctions between a compensable injury or illness as opposed to OSHA’s criteria for reportable work-related injuries or illnesses.
The federal agency emphasizes the fact that the criteria for recordability are not equivalent to the qualifications recognized for compensable injuries. Thus, in furnishing a workplace accident report based on the requirements of insurance providers, it must be ensured that all work-related accidents or incidents based on OSHA criteria are included. Otherwise, the records kept and the equivalent report submitted could likely be regarded as having elements of under-reporting.
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What Is the Basic Information Required by OSHA?
1. The name of the business organization
2. The specific location or site where the work-related incident took place
4. The number of fatally injured or hospitalized employees who sustained bodily harm
5. The names of the employees injured in the job-related accident
6. The business entity’s contact person and the phone number by which that person can be reached
7. A brief but vivid accounting of the workplace incident.
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Types of Injuries Considered by OSHA as Non-Work Related
There are several types of bodily harm that OSHA does not require for inclusion in the federal agency’s record-keeping and workplace accident reports. The following are only examples of the basic disqualifications, while the more complex types of non-work related harm can be gleaned from the U.S. Department of Labor’s publication, “Final Rules for Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements." (Please find the link in the reference section of this article).
Accidents in the workplace resulting in bodily damages or illnesses sustained by employees from eating, drinking, or consuming food that he or she prepared or concocted for personal consumption.
Bodily harm or illnesses sustained in the workplace but related to a personal activity not related to the official functions, which occurred beyond the employee’s working hours.
Injuries and sicknesses that the employee manifested while in the workplace but arising from personal grooming activities, or from self-administered medications for a medical condition not related to his employment, or any bodily harm that was self-inflicted.
Accidents involving motor vehicles in the company’s parking lot or access roads in connection with the employee's commuting activities to and from the business place.
Mental illnesses are regarded as work-related disorders only if the employee has provided the employer with ample proof that the identified mental disorder was acquired in relation to the employee’s work. Moreover, it is quite important that the licensed medical practitioner or health care professional who issues the certification has had sufficient training and experience working as a psychologist, psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.
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The Basics of an OSHA Work-Related Injury or Illness Incident Report
1. Workplace accidents that result in the fatality of at least one employee or grave injury requiring hospitalization to at least three employees should be reported to OSHA via Form 301 within eight hours of the occurrence.
2. Companies with less than ten employees are exempt from keeping records of job-related injuries and illnesses but they are not exempt from submitting the OSHA Form 301. This rule also applies to companies who are exempt from record-keeping based on industry classification as a low-hazard business entity.
3. OSHA considers it important that employees tasked to maintain the log or record for workplace injuries and illnesses (Form 300) and to prepare the injury/illness report (FORM 301) have had proper training regarding the agency’s record-keeping and reporting policies. In addition, companies are encouraged to develop and put in place guidelines as reference and training materials for that purpose.
4. Any information received about work-related accidents or incidents that result in bodily harm or sickness shall be recorded on Form 300 and Form 301 within seven days from the date the information was received.
5. All entries to the "Log of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses" (Form 300) including its summary as well as all 301 Forms shall be kept on file and updated accordingly for five years. The period shall commence from the year following the year when the record or report was prepared.
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Free Downloadable Template of OSHA Form 301
OSHA allows the use of reproductions or photocopies of the prescribed Form 301. To provide convenience to the readers, a template is available for download at Bright Hub’s Media Gallery. Hence, those who need to create a workplace accident report can use the template that was patterned after the OSHA prescribed form.