OSHA Recordable vs Reportable Events

With the exception of certain low-risk industries, employers with more than ten employees must abide by OSHA recordkeeping requirements. Employers must maintain such records for a minimum of five years and are required to post summaries of injuries from the previous year between the month of February and April. If requested, the employer must provide copies of injury and illness summaries to current and former employees or their representatives.

Confusion sometimes arises when discussing OSHA recordable vs reportable events, in part because not all recordable events are reportable. Here’s a brief explanation of OSHA recordkeeping requirements, with examples of recordable vs reportable events. 

What are OSHA Recordable Events?

OSHA recordkeeping requirements define a recordable illness or injury as any of the following:

  • Any work-related diagnoses of cancer or chronic irreversible disease
  • Any work-related injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Any work-related injury resulting in days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job, or loss of consciousness
  • Any work-related injury resulting in punctured eardrums or fractured/cracked bones or teeth
  • Work-related fatalities

In addition to these recordable events, OSHA recordkeeping requirements have special recording criteria for hearing loss, medical removal, needlesticks and sharps injuries, and tuberculosis.

Examples of Recordable Events

  • While walking through a construction site, Jennifer slips on some mud. Her hard hat comes off and she hits her head on a wooden pallet, losing consciousness briefly and suffering a mild concussion. She is treated at the local hospital as an out-patient.
  • Albert has suffered chronic back pain due to a lifting injury, necessitating his transfer from the company’s warehouse to an office job.
  • A large screw worked its way loose from a piece of machinery, which sent it hurtling through the air to strike Terry in the jaw, fracturing two teeth.
  • An injury caused by contact with a bandsaw resulting in Jim needed 35 stitches.
  • Florence has been diagnosed with lung cancer due to workplace exposure to toxic chemicals.
  • Ralph broke his ankle stepping down from his delivery truck, forcing him to take two weeks off work.

Recordable vs Reportable Events

OHSA reportable events cover fatal or extremely serious injuries or illnesses. In addition to being recordable events, the following must be reported to OSHA within specific time limits.

  • Any work-related fatality must be reported within 8 hours.
  • Any cases of in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss must be reported within 24 hours.

You’ll notice some overlap between recordable vs reportable events. Basically, if OSHA recordkeeping requirements classify a work-related illness or injury ad reportable, it is also recordable. 

Examples of OSHA Reportable Injuries or Illness

  • An explosion at a chemical factory kills an employee.
  • Accidental contact with machinery severs Kevin’s arm at the elbow.
  • A mistake with a bandsaw amputees Jim’s thumb.
  • Following an electrical fire, Susan is hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
  • Shrapnel from an arc flash explosion results in the loss of one of Albert’s eyes.
  • Contact with infectious biomaterials leads to Elizabeth spending a week under quarantine at the local hospital. 

Meeting OSHA Recordkeeping Requirements with EHS Software

Complying with OSHA recordkeeping requirements can be difficult. In the aftermath of a serious injury or fatality, your attention is more likely to be focused on your employees and their families rather than paperwork. Less serious recordable events can easily be put off and forgotten, or only recorded when the details of the injury have faded from memory.

EHS software offers a solution. With EHS software you have access to the OSHA forms you need right from your smartphone, making it easy to fill in forms in the immediate aftermath of an accident. EHS software will store your report in the cloud while allowing you to store important evidence such as photos or video footage. The system alerts you to upcoming OSHA deadlines and can generate annual injury and illness reports automatically. Make sure your recordable and reportable events reach OSHA in a timely manner, so you can focus on what really matters: the health and care of your employees. 


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