All workers have the right to a safe workplace. They also have the right to know about past workplace injuries, illnesses and hazards.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to post and maintain injury and illness reports and highlight hazardous areas in their workplace.
Employers with more than 10 employees are required under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) to prepare and maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses. These records help OSHA compile national injury and illness data and identify high-hazard industries. It also forces employers to inform workers about the safety and health of their workplace.
Employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from most requirements, as are a number of low-hazard industries: retail, service, finance, insurance and real estate.
Employers who are required to keep occupational injury and illness records have to record each work-related fatality, injury or illness.
Injury and Illness Forms
Employers must maintain work-related injury and illness records on a calendar year basis. Recording forms include:
- OSHA 300 — Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
- OSHA 300A — Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
- OSHA 301 — Injury and Illness Incident Report
The Annual Summary must be posted for three months, from February 1 through April 30 each year, in a visible location so that employees are aware of the injuries and illnesses. A company executive is required to certify the Annual Summary via signature. In addition, the Injury and Illness Log must be maintained for five years following the logged year.
OSHA not only requires companies to maintain the OSHA 300 log for accidents and injuries, but also to retain certain records for specific periods of time. For a complete list, visit OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements webpage.
Employers are required to educate employees about the OSH Act. OSHA’s “Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law” poster must be hung in an accessible location. Employers must also inform workers about workplace hazards and injury and illness data in a visible area.
Employers are not required to post notices about hazardous substances in the workplace. However, a number of state laws and regulations do require that a notice or sign be posted informing employees that information on toxic and hazardous substances in their workplace is available. Check with your local OSHA office to determine if your state requires posting of a right-to-know notice.
OSHA also requires companies that fall under the Occupational Noise Exposure Standard to post the standard in a visible place for employees.
OSHA Citation Posting
Companies that receive a citation following a visit from an OSHA inspector are required to immediately post the citation at or near where the violation occurred. The citation should remain posted for three working days or until the unsafe condition has been corrected, whichever is later.
Companies that do not receive a citation following a visit from an OSHA inspector will receive a notice and must post it in a visible area for three working days.
Employees have the right to safe work conditions and information about work-related injuries and illnesses.
To further help companies meet OSH Act requirements, OSHA has created a Recordkeeping Handbook. OSHA’s “Workers’ Rights” manual also outlines reporting and recordkeeping requirements.