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OSHA's Revised Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rules [29 CFR 1904]


Purpose: Establishes rules and requires new forms for recording work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. The rule became effective January 1, 2002.

Who is covered: The standard covers private sector employers with more than 10 employees. The rule also applies to state and local governments in states that have OSHA laws that cover public employees.

What is required: Employers must record occupational injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 Log and the OSHA 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report. The rule includes new requirements to record needlesticks and job related tuberculosis infections and cases. Workers and union representatives have the right to review and get copies of employer injury and illness records. Employers must post a summary of this information (OSHA Form 300A) for the year that was just completed in the workplace from February 1 through April 30.

The text of the Standard is available on the OSHA website


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) changed its requirements (29 CFR 1904) for how employers must record injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Workers and union representatives can use these records to determine:

  • How many workers are getting injured or made ill in the workplace.
  • The kinds of injuries and illnesses workers are suffering.
  • The departments or jobs where the most severe injuries/illnesses are occurring.
  • Priorities for correcting job hazards.

The revised recordkeeping rule also includes new forms that must be used to record and report injuries and illnesses. The revised rule took effect January 1, 2002.

Who is covered by OSHA's recordkeeping rule? [1904.1 and 1904.2]

The rule applies to private sector employers covered by OSHA with more than 10 employees. State and local government employers are covered in states with federally approved state OSHA plans. Several other states have job safety laws that cover state and local government workers, and adopt OSHA rules.

OSHA does not require employers in industries it considers "low hazard" to keep injury records under the new rule. This category includes educational services (schools, colleges, universities, and libraries), medical and dental clinics and laboratories, and other workplaces where AFSCME members are employed. These employers must still report any workplace incident that results in a death or causes three or more employees to be hospitalized, the same as other employers.

What injuries and illnesses must the employer record? [1904.4 - 1904.12]

Employers must record new cases of work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses that involve:

  • death,
  • days away from work,
  • restricted work or transfer to another job,
  • medical treatment beyond first aid,
  • loss of consciousness, or
  • significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional.

What forms must employers use to record injuries and illnesses? [1904.29]

Employers must use the following forms to record work-related injuries and illnesses.

  • OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) is for recording injuries and illnesses. It replaced the OSHA 200 Log.
  • OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report), or a similar form, must be used to record details for each injury or illness that is entered on the OSHA 300 Log. It replaces the OSHA Form 101, the Supplementary Record of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.
  • OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) includes the total of all cases, the number of days involving restricted duty or days off the job, and the number of each type of injury and illness for the year.

The 300, 301, 300A forms along with instructions are available on the OSHA web site.

Employers must record each case on the OSHA 300 Log and the Form 301 Incident Report within seven (7) calendar days after being notified that an injury or illness occurred. For each case, employers must check one of the following injury/illness categories on the OSHA 300 Log.

  1. injury,
  2. skin disorder,
  3. respiratory condition,
  4. poisoning,
  5. hearing loss,
  6. all other illnesses.

Employers must now use calendar days (including holidays and weekends) instead of scheduled work days, for recording days away from work [1904.7]. Employers may now cap days away from work at 180 days.

NOTE: OSHA eliminated a separate category for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from the new 300 Log. AFSCME and other unions strongly opposed OSHA's action. MSDs include back injuries, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other problems due to repetitive strain. MSDs are the most common type of serious injuries in the workplace. Recording MSDs in with "all other illnesses" will make it more difficult to identify and correct the working conditions that cause these problems. OSHA also dropped stricter requirements for recording hearing loss.

Posting the Annual Summary in the Workplace

Form 300A, which summarizes the injury, illnesses and deaths for the year that was just completed, must be posted in the workplace from February 1 through April 30.

What major new requirements did OSHA include?

Needlesticks [1904.8] - All work-related needlestick injuries and cuts from sharp objects that are contaminated with another person's blood or other potentially infectious material must be recorded on the 300 Log. The employer may not enter the worker's name on the 300 Log.

Tuberculosis [1904.11] - Employers must record cases of workers who develop tuberculosis (TB) infection or disease after being exposed to an active case in the workplace. The case must be recorded in the "respiratory condition" column on the 300 Log, but without the worker's name.

Privacy Concern Cases [1904.29] - For certain types of injuries, employers may not enter the worker's name on the OSHA 300 Log. The employer must enter "privacy case" instead of the name. The employer must keep a separate and confidential list of the names and case numbers. Privacy concern cases include:

  • an injury to an intimate body part or the reproductive system,
  • an injury or illness that is the result of a sexual assault,
  • mental illnesses,
  • infection with HIV, hepatitis, or tuberculosis,
  • needlesticks or cuts that are contaminated with another person's blood or other potentially infectious material,
  • other illnesses that a worker voluntarily requests not be entered on the log.

How long must employers keep injury and illness records? [1904.33]

The employer must save the OSHA 300 Log, the Form 300A Annual Summary, any privacy case list, and the Form 301 Incident Report forms for 5 years. The OSHA 300 Logs must be updated if the employer learns of any new cases that were not recorded.

NOTE: OSHA has another standard for Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records [29 CFR 1910.1020]. This standard requires employers to keep employee medical records for the time they are employed plus another 30 years, and exposure records for 30 years.

What are workers; and union representatives' rights to records? [1904.35]

Workers and union representatives have important rights to obtain employer injury and illness records:

  • Employers must inform workers how to report injuries or illnesses and have procedures to receive these reports promptly.
  • Employers must provide workers, former workers, union representatives, and personal representatives access to injury and illness records by the end of the next business day.
  • A worker who requests a copy of a Form 301 Incident Report from the employer must be given a copy by the end of the next business day. The employer has 7 calendar days to give union representatives copies of the Form 301 Incident Report. The employer must provide union representatives with information about the case but without personal data about the worker.
  • Employers must provide copies of the OSHA 300 Logs and Form 301 Incident Report free of charge the first time they are requested.

How can injury and illness records be used to correct problems?

The OSHA 300, 301, and 300A forms can be valuable tools for finding serious and/or common injuries and illnesses in the workplace. The information is extremely useful to identify the job hazards that that need to be eliminated or controlled.

Workers and union representatives also need to be aware that employer injury and illness records are often not complete or accurate. In addition, employers are not required to record all injuries and illnesses. For example, employers do not have to record:

  • Injuries, such as assaults by patients or clients that do not require more than first aid,
  • Early signs and symptoms of some musculoskeletal disorders,
  • Occupational illnesses such as cancer or musculoskeletal disorders that an employer does not accept as work-related,
  • Health problems caused by stress on the job, or
  • Injuries that result in lost time or restricted activity only for the day of the incident.

AFSCME health and safety activists should use additional methods to identify symptoms, injuries and illnesses that are occurring in the workplace. These methods include worker surveys, risk mapping, and reviewing worker compensation data and other records. See the AFSCME publication Safe Jobs Now for more information on collecting information about injuries, illnesses, and hazards in the workplace.

January 2004

For more information about protecting workers from workplace hazards, contact the AFSCME Health and Safety Program at (202) 429-1215, or 1625 L Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036.

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