On January 1, 2015, the following revised recording and reporting requirements adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on September 11, 2014, go into effect.


OSHA can require all covered employers to keep routine records of employee injuries and illnesses. These records include the OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, the OSHA Form 301 Injuries and Illnesses Incident Report, and the OSHA Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. However, certain employers are partially-exempt from the recordkeeping requirement, which means they do not need to keep these records unless asked to do so in writing by OSHA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), or a state agency operating under the authority of either federal agency.

The new rule revises the list of industries in which employers are required to prepare and maintain OSHA records of work injuries and illnesses. As of January 1, twenty-five previously partially-exempt industries will be required to keep routine OSHA illness and injury records. These industries include automobile dealers, specialty food stores, beer, wine, and liquor stores, performing arts companies, museums, historical sites and similar institutions, consumer goods rental, and building material and supplies dealers, to name a few.

In addition, the list now uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) instead of the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. You can look up your NAICS code on the U.S. Census Bureau NAICS webpage, on the U.S. Census Bureau Concordances page using the SIC code conversion tables, or by contacting your nearest OSHA office or state agency.

Employers with ten or fewer employees in the entire company at all times during the prior calendar year continue to be partially-exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirement.


The second major revision expands the list of workplace illnesses and injuries that must be reported to OSHA. As of January 1, employers must report:

  • all work-related fatalities within eight hours of death
  • all work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees (including due to heart attack if the heart attack resulted from a work-related incident)
  • all work-related amputations
  • all work-related losses of an eye

The last three of those reportable events are new requirements. The reporting requirements apply to all employers under OSHA jurisdiction regardless of whether they are required to maintain OSHA injury and illness records.

The rule newly requires that in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss be reported within 24 hours. These events must be reported only if they occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident. Only fatalities occurring within 30 days of the work-related incident must be reported.

The reporting requirements do not apply to:

  • events that result from motor vehicle accidents on public roadways (unless they happened in a construction work zone)
  • events that occurred on a commercial or public transportation system
  • in-patient hospitalizations that are for diagnostic testing or observation only

To report an event, you can call your nearest OSHA office during normal business hours or call the 24-hour OSHA hotline (1-800-321-OSHA). In addition, OSHA is in the process implementing an electronic reporting system which will be available on its website. When reporting, you must orally give OSHA the following information: the establishment name; the location of the work-related incident; the time of the work-related incident; whether it was a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye; the number of employees who suffered the event; the names of those employees; a contact person and his or her phone number; and a brief description of the work-related incident.

In addition to federal OSHA standards, thirty-four states have some type of state-level program for worker safety and health. Employers should be aware of those requirements to the extent they may apply. The state programs are available here.

Employers with questions or doubts about compliance with federal or state occupational safety and health laws should communicate with inside or outside counsel.