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Step 1: Collecting Information on Injuries (Internal Link)

There are different ways to discover who has been injured. Begin by reviewing records the employer collects. These include workers’ compensation, medical insurance data, and injury and illness data. WARNING! These sources are often incomplete and inaccurate.


If you work in a state where public employees are covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or you are in the private sector, your employer is required to keep a record of all job-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. The Federal OSHA Form 300 (state OSHA plans may have a different form number) is a yearly summary of injuries, illnesses and deaths. Union representatives have a right to review the log. A sample form is included in the PDF of this booklet. An accurate 300 log can tell you:

  • who has had a musculoskeletal disorder
  • the occupation of an injured worker
  • the department of an injured worker and
  • how much work time has been lost due to MSDs.

These facts can be used to find patterns of injuries. This helps to identify if many or most of the MSDs are occurring in certain departments or occupations. The log can also show if the number of injuries has been rising, falling or staying about the same. One way to assess the seriousness of the problem is to figure how much time workers are off work due to MSDs. This can done by keeping track of lost workdays due to MSDs on injury reports, workers’ compensation records, the 300 log or other records. This method will be accurate enough if the number of workers does not change much from year to year.


The union can conduct its own survey. Surveys are useful for a number of reasons:

  • A survey can provide a more complete picture of who is having symptoms.
  • The records your employer keeps may not be very accurate.
  • Many workers with a musculoskeletal disorder do not report them to their employer or file for workers’ compensation.
  • A survey increases worker awareness about ergonomic issues.

Surveys can be done with or without using workers’ names. People will not give you accurate answers if they feel the information may be used against them. The decision to include employees’ names depends on the situation. Keep the following tips in mind when doing a survey:

  • Use words that everyone will understand.
  • It is usually better for surveys to be shorter rather than longer.
  • As much as possible the answers should be yes or no, true or false, or multiple choice.

A sample health survey for computer operators follows.

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