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Recording Injuries, When Do We Need To?

September 18, 2021

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Your employee sustains a small cut on their arm while performing their daily work responsibilities. It’s work-related, but is it OSHA recordable?

The short answer is no. According to OSHA, an injury only needs to be recorded if it meets some specific requirements. These include:

OSHA Recordable images
  • Work-related fatality
  • Injury that requires medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Injury requires missed workdays, restricted work, or a transfer to another job
  • Injury that results in loss of consciousness
  • Diagnosed cancer or irreversible diseases related to work activities
  • Fractured bones or teeth
  • Punctured eardrums

Basically, if an injury occurs that is severe enough to require medical treatment or time off from work, and it is specifically related to the work duties the employee was completing, it needs to be recorded. If basic first aid can solve the issue, such as applying a band-aid or using tweezers to remove a splinter, the incident doesn’t need to make its way to OSHA.

To expound on the example of an employee cutting their arm during work, what if what began as a small cut became infected? Treating a growing infection would likely require more than what your first aid kit had to offer you and would probably result in a trip to the hospital for the employee. In this case, the incident would need to be recorded because it would result in missed time from work and hospitalization.

As another example, are stitches OSHA recordable? Yes! Stitches would require medical treatment above basic first aid and would require hospitalization.

What about COVID-19?

A special mention should go towards COVID-19. Just like any other injury or sickness, cases of COVID-19 have to be specifically work-related to be recorded. If an employee attends an event with a large group of people and then manifests symptoms of COVID-19 while at work the next day, the incident would not be recorded. However, if the employee that attended the event spread the virus to others in the workplace during their daily duties, these incidents would need to be recorded. OSHA specifies that for a case of COVID-19 to be recordable it must:

  • Be a confirmed, positive case of COVID-19
  • Be work related
  • Involve time away from work, medical treatment beyond first aid, etc.

Remember that records of recorded incidents must be kept for at least five years. A summary of all recorded injuries and illnesses from the previous year must be posted each February through April. Also, remember that any work-related fatalities must be reported to OSHA within eight hours of the initial incident or discovery, and any amputations or hospitalizations must be reported within 24 hours. 

Interested in learning more? Check out our website or our OSHA-Compliant Record Keeping Training.

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