Is Your 300A Accurate? Compliance Tips Before the February 1 Deadline
It’s almost that time again! Employers in the United States who are subject to OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule are required to post a signed copy of their Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300 A) in a location accessible to employees by February 1. Still, many employers make common recordkeeping mistakes, some of which potentially affect compliance with the Recordkeeping Rule.
With the deadline approaching, let’s take a moment to review form 300A and related aspects of the recordkeeping rule and help you avoid some of the most common mistakes made by employers.
Who is Covered by the Recordkeeping Rule?
OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule covers all employers with 11 or more employees in the company at any time during the calendar year, unless their NAIC code is included on thePartially Exempt List. All employers covered by the rule are required to keep occupational injury and illness records including the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300), individual Injury and Illness Incident Reports (Form 301s) for each recordable injury or illness, and the Form 300A.
Those employers who have 10 or fewer employees in the company or who are in one of the low hazard industries listed on the partially exempt list are not required to maintain these forms but are still required to report any fatalities (within 8 hours), hospitalizations of 1 or more employees (within 24 hours) and incidents involving amputation or loss of eye (within 24 hours).
Completing and Posting the 300A
If your establishment is part of a company that is covered by the recordkeeping rule, you must complete and post Form 300A summarizing 2017 occupational injury and illness data by February 1. Remember to have a company executive sign the form prior to posting. Once posted, the signed 300 A must remain up until April 30th, and can be taken down after that date.
What Are Common Mistakes Regarding the 300A?
Failure to Sign
One of the most common mistakes regarding the 300 A is simply the failure to properly sign it. OSHA requires a “company executive” to sign the form prior to posting, which expresses OSHA’s intent that the signer should be an individual with a high degree of responsibility and authority for the facility. Since the signature certifies that the information in the document is “true, accurate, and complete,” OSHA considers it a crucial step, and views unsigned forms as being out of compliance.
You should also ensure that old or outdated forms are taken down because this can confuse employees about which data actually represents the past calendar year. OSHA can potentially judge a facility with outdated or conflicting forms posted to be out of compliance.
Confusing Establishment Size for Company Size in Determining Requirements
Other mistakes are less obvious. For example, here’s a pop quiz for you. You’re the manager of a small facility within the NAIC code subject to the recordkeeping rule. This establishment is also part of a company with over 11 employees across its locations, but at your location, no more than 5 people are ever employed. Do you have to complete, sign, and post the 300A? Many would answer that they do not have to – and this answer would be wrong.
Despite still prevalent confusion over this point, recordkeeping applicability is determined by company size, not establishment size.
OSHA defines an “establishment” as “a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed.” Since the company is in an NAIC code subject to the recordkeeping rule and has 11 or more employees, every individual establishment within that company must complete its own 300A, regardless of the number of employees working at the establishment itself. The information summarized for the form must be that for the specific establishment, rather than summary information for the company as a whole. Of course, the smaller the establishment, the greater the likelihood that no occupational injuries or illnesses at all occurred, but if that’s the case, a 300A would need to be posted indicating their absence.
Other mistakes on the 300A can be caused by administrative, or “bookkeeping” mistakes. One of the most common mistakes involves errors in the classification of injuries on the 300 form, which then cascade into inaccurate summary information on the 300A. For instance, many people mistakenly check the boxes for both “days away from work” (Column H) and “job transfer or restriction” (Column I) on Form 300, when per the instructions on the form, they should check only one box for each case. A case involving both days away from work and restrictions should therefore be classified only as a “days away from work” incident since that is the more severe outcome. Checking both boxes will “double count” the incident and result in a discrepancy between the total number of recordable cases (Line J) and the numbers of days away from work (Line H) and restricted/job transfer (Line I) incidents on the 300A.
A related mistake can occur if an injury or illness that begins as restricted/job transfer worsens and becomes a day away from work incident, but the OSHA 300 log is not updated to reflect this.Subpart Dof the recordkeeping standard requires employers to update the 300 log when they become aware of “changes that have occurred in the classification of previously recorded injuries and illnesses.” An employer who does not accordingly change the classification on the 300 will consequently have inaccurate summary information on the 300A.
Another example of a “bookkeeping” mistake is failure to correctly count the number of days away from work or the number of days of job transfer or restriction on Form 300, which then affects the accuracy of the information on lines K and L of the 300A. Remember that you must count all calendar days that employees had restrictions/job transfers and days away from work, beginning the day after the incident occurred. This means that you count weekends and holidays too, even if the employee would not have worked on those days. You may stop counting days of restricted work activity or days away from work once the total of either or the combination of both reaches 180 days.
For all of the reasons above, it is a good idea to be proactive about reviewing your occupational injury and illness records, since there is a good chance you might have missed something! As a best practice, revisit your records on at least a quarterly schedule and update as needed.