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What is an OSHA Recordable?

By April 2, 2020April 7th, 2020No Comments

An OSHA recordable is a specifically defined type of incident that occurs in the workplace. When they happen, they must be recorded in an employer’s OSHA records. This article will outline exactly what OSHA defines as an OSHA recordable.


Each year, millions of workers get hurt on the job. In order to help prevent work-related injuries and illnesses, OSHA has for decades required employers to keep track of these incidents by recording them in their OSHA records– or more commonly referred to as “OSHA logs”.

These logs must be maintained at the work site for at least 5 years. Each February through April, employers must post a summary of workplace injuries (the 300A log) in the workplace in a conspicuous place. Those employers who are subject to OSHA’s Electronic Reporting Rule must also electronically submit their logs to OSHA’s website every year by March, 2.

What is an OSHA Recordable? 

An injury or illness is recordable if one or more of the following occur:

  • Death
    • Employers must report any worker fatality directly to OSHA within 8 hours.
    • For more info on reporting fatalities and other severe injuries/illnesses, click here.
  • Injury results in days away from work
    • The day of the injury is not counted as a day away from work
  • Injury results in restricted work or job transfer
    • Restricted work means the employee can perform their same job after an injury but under certain medical restrictions; i.e. not lifting more than 20 pounds
    • Job transfer means the employee cannot perform their same job after an injury and must perform a different job;
  • Injury results in loss of consciousness
  • A significant injury is diagnosed by a licensed healthcare professional 
    • This involves injuries that may not result in days away, restricted, or job transfer scenarios but are still significant injuries. OSHA cites cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured/crack bones, and punctured eardrums as examples.
  • The injury requires medical treatment beyond first aid.

What is First Aid?

OSHA specifically defines 14 types of treatment that are considered first aid:

  1. Using a non-prescription medication at nonprescription strength (for medications available in both prescription and non-prescription form, a recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional to use a non-prescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes)
  2. Administering tetanus immunizations (other immunizations, such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine, are considered medical treatment)
  3. Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin
  4. Using wound coverings such as bandages, Band-Aids™, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips™ (other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc., are considered medical treatment)
  5. Using hot or cold therapy
  6. Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes)
  7. Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.)
  8. Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister
  9. Using eye patches
  10. Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab
  11. Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means
  12. Using finger guards
  13. Using massages (physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes)
  14. Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress

It’s important to note that his is a complete list of treatments OSHA considers first aid. If an employee receives any type of treatment that’s not on this list, that would be considered medical treatment and therefore recordable.

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