Accident and Injury Reporting

And Recordkeeping Guidelines


Summary of:

29 CFR Part 1904


For more information:

Order OMB No. 1220-0029

Recordkeeping Guidelines for

Occupational Injuries and Illnesses



Who is required to keep records of workplace accidents and injuries?


All employers who do not fall within the below described exceptions are required to compile, post and maintain accident and injury reports and logs.


*        Employers who had no more than 10 employees at any time during the previous calendar year.

*        Employers who are not currently in an industry targeted (by SIC) for general schedule inspections (low hazard industry) and are in a major industry group which has demonstrated an average lost workday case injury rate at or below 75% of the comparable private sector average for a designated 3 year measurement period.  These industries will have an SIC code between 52 and 89 (except SICs 52, 53, 54, 70, 75, 76, 79 and 80).


Exceptions to the above exemptions are as follows:


*        29 CFR Part 1904.8 requires fatalities and multiple hospitalization accidents to be reported.

*        29 CFR Part 1904.2 requires those employers selected in writing by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to participate in their statistical survey of occupational injuries and illnesses must keep accident and injury records.

*        Approved State programs may not recognize the small employers exemption.  Employers in States with approved programs are encouraged to contact the State agency to determine if the small business exemption applies.



Additionally, the following rules are applied:


*        Churches that do not have secular employees are exempt from accident and injury recordkeeping and reporting.

*        Employers of household workers who perform ordinary domestic household tasks are exempt from accident and injury recordkeeping and reporting.

*        State and local government employers in States operating under the Federal OSHA program are usually exempt from accident and injury recordkeeping and reporting.

*        State and local government employers in States operating under approved State programs are required to maintain records of accidents and injuries.



Please note that the industries exempted through the “low hazard” industry exemption can change and that exemptions provided under Federal rule may not exist in approved State programs.



What records are non-exempt employers required to maintain?


Employers are required to record and classify occupational injuries and illnesses on OSHA Log No. 200 (or equivalent) and to summarize the recordable injuries and illnesses for the previous calendar year in the section to the right of the vertical dotted line.  (Note:  zeroes are entered in this area if there were no injuries or illnesses during the previous year).  Finally, every injury or illness on the log needs to be recorded on its own supplementary record sheet, OSHA No. 101 or equivalent.


The OSHA No. 200 log is used for two purposes: (1) as the log of an employer’s occupational injuries and illnesses; and (2) as the employer’s summary of the past calendar year’s injuries and illnesses.  The log is used for recording and classifying recordable occupational injuries and illnesses, and for noting the extent and outcome of each case.  Information on the log includes: when the injury or illness occurred; who was injured or became ill; what the affected employee’s regular job was at the time; the department the affected employee worked in; the kind of injury or illness; how much time was lost from work; and whether the case resulted in a fatality.  Additionally, to the right of a vertical dotted line, there is an area for summarizing the injuries and illnesses from the past year.  The summary portion is completed by totaling the column entries, and dating and signing the certification portion at the bottom of the page.


The OSHA No. 101 is a supplemental record that describes how the injury or illness exposure occurred, lists objects or substances involved, indicates the nature of the injury or illness, and indicates the part or parts of the body affected.



What records must be kept and for how long?


The OSHA No. 200 log and the OSHA No. 101 supplement need to b maintained for a minimum of 5 years after the last day of the recording period (year).  Changes to the record need to be made when the reportability or the effect of an injury or illness changes.  Examples include:  an injury recorded as non-fatal that ultimately results in worker death; an incident that was originally thought to be reportable, but is later determined to be non-reportable; and a year end incident which resulted in a carry over of lost workdays which was less than or greater than the number of days estimated.


Exceptions to the above:


*        When a business is dissolved, recordkeeping is no longer required.  Note:  this does not apply to sale of the business or reorganization.

*        The purchaser of a previously existing business is required to maintain the previous employers records for the 5 year period, but is not required to perform updates to OSHA No. 200 logs which relate to periods under the previous ownership.



Where do these records need to be kept?


OSHA No. 200 and No. 101 records must be kept for every physical location where operations are performed.  Where the records are maintained depends upon whether or not the employees are considered to work at a “fixed location”. 


Employees are considered to work at fixed locations if they work at the same establishment (i.e. factories, restaurants, stores, etc.) or when the employee routinely reports to a fixed location prior to beginning work at other locations.  OSHA injury and illness records must be maintained at the fixed location for these employees.  It is also proper to maintain OSHA injury and illness records at the fixed location where personnel or payroll records are maintained when an employee works at multiple locations (such as a salesperson, a field technician, etc.).


When employees are not connected to a fixed location, as is common with construction and service operations, the OSHA injury and illness records may be kept either at the mobile location or field office, or at an established central location.  If the records are kept at an off site location, the address and telephone number of the location must be kept at the work site and someone must be available at the record storage location during normal business hours to provide information from the records.


What injuries and illnesses are reportable?


The reportability of an injury or illness by an employer required to keep records depends on several factors:


*        The status of the affected individual.  Is he an employee or a non-employee?

*        The purpose of an employee’s presence on a work site, and

*        The type (extent) of injury or illness.


Independent contractors must keep their own illness and injury records.  Employee status generally exists when the employer supervises not only the output, product or result to be accomplished by the person’s work, but also the details, means, methods and processes by which the work objective is accomplished.  Thus, an employer who supervises the day-to-day activities of a worker is that worker’s employer.  When the supervision provided only concerns itself with the result to be accomplished or the product to be delivered, the worker is an independent contractor.


For an accident to be reportable, the reason for the employees presence on the work site needs to be work related.  Use of restroom or other on site facilities by an employee prior to, during, or after work on the site is considered work related.  An employee of a store who returns to the store on their own time in order to shop at the store is not on site as an employee, rather the worker is now a customer of the establishment and an injury or illness occurring at the time of the shopping visit would not be reportable. 


Certain injuries are not reportable due to their minor nature.  Specifically, work-related injuries that involve only first aid treatment are non-reportable injuries.  This includes any one time treatment, and any follow-up visit for the purpose of observation, of minor scratches, cuts, burns, splinters and so forth, which do not ordinarily require medical care.  Treatment for these types of injuries is considered first aid.


Some examples of recordable incidents:


*        Treatment of infection

*        Application of antiseptics during a second or subsequent visit to medical personnel

*        Treatment of second or third degree burns

*        Suturing (stitches)

*        Application of butterfly adhesive dressings (or stri strips) in lieu of sutures

*        Removal of foreign bodies from eyes

*        Removal of foreign bodies from a wound (other than a splinter)

*        Use of prescription medicines (except single doses on a first visit for discomfort or minor injury)

*        Hot or cold soaking on a second or subsequent visit to medical personnel

*        Hot or cold compress application on a second or subsequent visit to medical personnel

*        Whirlpool bath therapy on a second or subsequent visit to medical personnel

*        Positive x-ray diagnosis (breaks in bones, fractures, etc.)

*        Admission to a hospital or medical facility for treatment


Treatments that are generally considered first aid: (unless involving loss of consciousness, restriction of work movement or motion, or transfer to another job)


*        Application of antiseptics during a first visit to medical personnel

*        Treatment of first degree burns

*        Application of bandages during any visit to medical personnel

*        Application of elastic bandages during an initial visit to medical personnel

*        Removal of foreign bodies not embedded in the eye by irrigation

*        Removal of foreign bodies from a wound (uncomplicated – such as by tweezers)

*        Use of non-prescription medications

*        Single dose of prescription medication on first visit for minor injury or discomfort

*        Soaking on initial visit or for removal of bandages

*        Application of hot or cold compresses during first visit to medical personnel

*        Use of ointments on abrasions to prevent drying or cracking

*        Whirlpool bath therapy on a first visit to medical personnel

*        Negative x-ray diagnosis

*        Observation of injury


Unless occurring in conjunction with an otherwise reportable injury, tetanus shots and boosters are not considered medical treatment.


If an employee loses consciousness as a result of any injury or exposure, the injury or exposure is reportable.  Additionally, any injury or illness that causes an employee to no longer be capable of performing the employee’s job or any portion of his work (whether physical or mental) is considered a restriction of work or motion and the injury must be reported without exception.  Even when the employee can be transferred to another job (especially if this is the only remedy to prevent a time loss injury or illness), the underlying injury or illness must be reported.