When talking with business leaders about OSHA and workplace safety, one of the questions we get most often is, “What workplace safety incidents do companies need to report to OSHA in their annual filing?”
In 2024, that question takes on some increased importance since OSHA has announced that they will be posting safety data by company on a publicly accessible and searchable website. So, it’s all the more important that the data is accurate and complete yet doesn’t over-report incidents that would unnecessarily reflect poorly on a company’s safety record.
Some incidents are clearly reportable while some are not and it’s important to know the difference.
It’s critical to track and review each injury or illness for a number of reasons, not the least of which is understanding how to prevent more in the future. But whether or not a specific incident is OSHA reportable depends on a number of factors including the severity of the incident, the outcome of any medical intervention and whether or not time was missed from work as a result.
Putting the details of each incident through a decision tree will help organizations make sure they are reporting what they are required to without reporting more than they need to.
In accurately reporting and not reporting incidents, a business is doing itself a favor by staying in compliance with OSHA reporting regulations (avoiding fines and penalties) while also ensuring that their workplace safety record does not look unnecessarily negative.
An incorrectly inflated incident report could lead to a high Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) which is a standard computation that takes into account how many OSHA recordable incidents a company has per number of hours worked. The higher the TRIR number the more unsafe a company will appear.
An elevated TRIR number could lead to higher worker’s comp insurance rates and increased scrutiny by OSHA inspectors. It could also mean that prospective clients doing due diligence may chose not to hire a given company and potential employees may not accept a job offer for fear of a poor safety record.
If you have questions about reportability of the incidents you’ve recorded, the time to address them is before the March 2 OSHA filing deadline. In addition to the decision tree, McClone has other resources available to help including a January 31, 2024 OSHA Compliance Update webinar.
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