What incidents need to be reported to OSHA?

According to OSHA, OSHA was created “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance”.  How does reporting help “enforce standards,” and what incidents need to be reported to OSHA?

How does OSHA enforce the standards they produce?  By leveraging fines and even criminal charges against employers that cause harm to employees and violate these standards.  OSHA has set requirements for reporting certain incidents that happen in the workplace.  This reporting not only helps save lives but also helps to find trends in incidents.  As the world advances with new technology, incidents change and need to be continually addressed.

Do you know what needs to be reported?

OSHA also requires companies to track their incidents and report them regularly each year.  Based on OSHA reporting requirements, I have recreated a common reporting decision tree to make it easy to decide how to classify incidents and to know what to report.

Injury and Illness Classification Chart

You can also use the below decision tree to help make a determination on whether an incident is considered work-related or not.  Plus, a flowchart to help decide if an incident needs to be recorded.

Injury and Illness Workplace Related Chart

Injury and Illness Recording Chart

In addition to reporting, companies should have their own incident reporting and investigation programs.  Incident investigations need to be done along with reporting.  Depending on the severity of the incident, OSHA may be involved.  Investigations will help reduce or stop recurrence, help your company know what issues to address, reduce incidences of loss of life or chronic injury, and save your company money in the long run.

author avatar
Amber Hebert

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