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Am I Exempt from OSHA's Recordkeeping Requirements?

Employers know that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act requires covered employers to provide a safe workplace for employees and to meet several reporting requirements to prove compliance.

Many companies are required by law to keep workplace injury and illness records. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Standard outlines the requirements, including what injuries or illnesses should be recorded.

Covered employers who fail to comply with these rules risk fines and penalties.

There are two exceptions to OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements. First, businesses with 10 or fewer employees must keep these records only if the agency specifically requires them to do so.

Organizations with 10 or fewer employees throughout the previous calendar year do not need to complete recordkeeping forms. Keep in mind that if there are more than 10 employees at any time during that calendar year, the employer may come under the requirement. When counting employees, business owners must include full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers.

Note also that this exemption is based on the employment of the entire company, rather than the establishment. For example, if a company has two locations, one with five employees and one with seven, the company must fill out the forms for each site because the total employment figure is greater than 10.

The second exemption is for establishments classified in certain industries. For example, restaurants, banks and medical offices do not have to complete the forms. A complete list of exempt industries can be found on OSHA’s recordkeeping page.

Regardless of whether a company is required to keep OSHA records, every employer must report incidents that involve the death of a worker and/or the overnight hospitalization of three or more workers.

Reports should be made to the local OSHA office or to 1-800-321-OSHA within eight hours of when managers become aware of the incident.

Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics may select exempted employers to participate in an annual statistical survey.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him on Twitter @SHRMRoy.

Related Articles:

Employers’ OSHA 300A Forms Due Feb. 1, SHRM Online Safety & Security, January 2013

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