What Constitutes an OSHA Recordable Incident? 5 Things to Know

Employers who can identify an OSHA recordable incident and record it accordingly are not only covering themselves in the case of inspection but knowing where the problems lie can make them much easier to avoid and fix in the future.

While knowing which incidents qualify as a recordable incident, knowing what to record and how to record it is just as important. We offer specialized Accident Investigation Training so you know how to make sure the process runs smoothly and is OSHA compliant.

However, the first step is to identify the incident and establish whether it is recordable or not – here’s what you need to know.

1. How OSHA Defines a Recordable Injury or Illness

For an injury or illness to be considered recordable, it will be any work-related:

2. How To Know What Is Recordable

Companies with fewer than ten employees don’t need to keep injury and illness records.

Those that have more than eleven are required to record them for OSHA compliance on a Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.)

If the injury or illness meets the above criteria but isn’t considered a work-related injury or illness, it shouldn’t be recorded. 

For example, if an employee loses consciousness due to their own health condition such as epilepsy or diabetes, it isn’t considered work-related. This also includes voluntary participation in any activity during or after work, such as playing basketball.

It’s important to note that an OSHA recordable incident doesn’t include first aid, such as:

Even if one of these incidents requires medical treatment or even hospitalization, it still falls under first aid and therefore does not need to be recorded.

On the other hand, standing on a rusty nail and getting a tetanus injection is considered first aid and not OSHA recordable. But, if the wound becomes infected and requires antibiotics, the injury will then be OSHA recordable.

3. How to Record

Once a recordable injury or illness has occurred, it needs to be recorded to OSHA standards.

When recording days away from work, begin counting the day after the incident occurred. This includes recording how many days off the clinician has recommended. Weekend days should be included. If the incident occurred on a Friday and the employee is scheduled for five days’ rest, he should return the following Thursday.

If a worker is advised to come back but only do restricted work, this should be recorded, and for how long.

Any of the defined injuries and illnesses must be recorded even if medical restriction, job restriction, and medical treatment are not recommended or required.

A work-related fatality must be reported and recorded within eight hours of occurring. Any hospitalization, including amputation or loss of an eye, must be recorded within 24 hours.

4. Where to Record

The 300, 300A and 301 Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Forms are downloadable and printable.

The records of injury and illness must be maintained on-site for at least five years. 

Every February through April, employers must publish a summary of the injuries recorded during the last year’s time span. 

If requested, copies of records need to be provided to current or former employees.

5. What to Expect During an OSHA Inspection

You are more likely to receive an OSHA inspection if you are part of an industry with hazards in imminent danger and fatalities.

The first important thing to consider is where you will keep your logs and OSHA forms to be easily reachable should an inspector arrive.

Correct upkeep of OSHA recordable events will decrease the likelihood of fines and penalties. It will be in your best interest to point out what measures you have implemented to reduce the chances of these occupational injuries and illnesses from happening again in the future.

Another critical thing to note is that first aid related incidents shouldn’t be recorded at all – even “just in case” if you’re unsure. Minor first aid-worthy incidents occur regularly in the workplace, and recording every single one will significantly increase your OSHA recordable incident count.

This could unnecessarily put you on inspectors’ radar for occupational safety negligence.

How We Can Help

We provide personalized Injury and Illness Protection Program (IIPP) Training appropriate for your company and industry.

We also stay current about new regulations on OSHA logs and offer assistance and training for OSHA logs and online submissions. Once you know how to identify an OSHA recordable incident from just a first aid injury and record it accordingly, you never have to worry about being non-compliant in that regard again.

We offer companies:

  • training on OSHA log creation;
  • training OSHA log training;
  • guidance on what is a recordable injury; and 
  • Safety Committee Meetings to review previous OSHA logs and make improvements

We can also identify any safety gaps in your company that might cost you thousands of dollars in fines and penalties in the long run. Take our free safety audit to find out more.

Key Takeaways

While you should be aware of every work-related injury and illness that occurs in your company, not every single one qualifies as an OSHA recordable incident.

Incidents requiring first aid and no hospitalization, time off or even work restriction are not considered enough of a significant injury to be recorded.

Knowing how to record the incidents correctly can save you time and money down the track. Allow us to help you do so by contacting us today.



Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this guide is accurate. You should note, however, that the information is intended as a guide only, providing an overview of general information available to businesses. This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information and should not be seen to constitute legal, safety or business advice. You should, where necessary, seek your own advice for any issues raised in your affairs.

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