It's that time of the year-March 2nd. But what is the importance of March 2nd? This is the day when organizations need to file their OSHA 300A logs to OSHA. OSHA 300 logs cover workplace injuries and illnesses that occurred throughout the year. However with documents such as OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 it can get confusing on what means what and which ones you need to file. In addition, paperwork doesn't end there as if there is an incident in your workplace that causes injury you may need to submit a workers compensation claim to your carrier. And while it may be easy to assume their the same thing they are two distinct processes.
We'll cover what the OSHA 300 logs are and how to file them as well as the process of filing a workers comp claim here.
OSHA has 3 documents: 300, 300A, and 301 and can be found here. The 301 log or the Injury and Illness Incident Report is the first document you want to start with whenever an accident occurs in the workplace. There are a total of 18 fields on the 301 form that include basic fields such as name, date, location, etc. However, there are sections that require more diligence and time such as explaining what happened during the accident, what happened before the accident and where the injury occurred on the body. It might be tempting to speed through the process but taking the time to write good incident reports can help your organization diagnosis root cause to prevent future injuries. Here are some examples of how to write good incident reports.
Once the 301 report has been completed it's time to move forward to complete the 300 log or the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. There are 5 steps to this process including sections A - M that provides a summary of your 301 logs. For example, if a company has 10 incidents in 2020 and created 10 301 forms, they should have 10 different case numbers on the 300 log. Keep in mind that every incident requires its own unique case number. In addition, do not bundle injuries together. If there was 1 event that cause 3 different injuries, the best practice is creating 3 separate 301 logs that will in turn create 3 separate case numbers on the 300 log.
Finally, there's the 300A log which is the form that OSHA requires for submission. Similarly to how to 300 log is a summation of the 301 logs, the 300A form is a summation of the total number of cases, total number of days away from work, and total number of injuries for the year for a given location and a given company. Keep in mind every year and every unique location requires its own 300A form. The 300A form is completed by adding up the rows listed under the OSHA 300 log's G - M columns.
Not every company needs to file OSHA logs. However if an incident falls under OSHA's updated recordkeeping rule (which expands the list of severe injuries) then employers must report to OSHA. It follows the instructions below.
As of January 1, 2015, all employers must report
You can report to OSHA by
Only fatalities occurring within 30 days of the work-related incident must be reported to OSHA. Further, for an in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye, these incidents must be reported to OSHA only if they occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident.
Here are other examples of incidents that require OSHA filing
In addition, the OSHA 300 log (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) must be posted and visible in the workplace for any employee to view as well as being keep for a minimum of 5 years.
However, if a company has under 10 employees, that business does not need to post OSHA logs. Alternatively, if a business falls under this list from OSHA the are also exempt.
Once a business has completed their 301, 300, and 300A logs then files can be submitted electronically through the OSHA Injury Tracking Application (ITA) available online.
Here is the process of submitting the form electronically:
At this point, it's tempting to call it a day. However, the process doesn't end here. If the injury documented in the incident report requires treatment then the employer also needs to file a report with their workers compensation carrier. This report is typically process by the workers compensation carrier's claim portal such as Hartford's portal. The good news is that majority of 301 log businesses fill out make up a workers compensation claim. However, the bad news is the need to duplicate answers and make another submission to the workers compensation carrier. The rule of thumb for claims filing is the earlier a business files a claim after the injury the better the outcomes are. Typically the faster the injured employee seeks the proper treatment and the sooner the insurer is notified, the days away from work can be cut down drastically improving the businesses operational efficiency.
Below is an example of a claims form from the Texas state Workers' Compensation fund.
One of the key differences between the OSHA 301 form and the claims form is section 1 which the injured employee often fills out. However, the employee does not have to fill it out it and can have the assistance of a supervisor to fill out the form.
Once the business files a workers compensation claim, the insurer will reach back out to you as part of their case investigation to see whether they approve or deny the claim.
While the filing process itself is not particularly difficult, it can be quite tedious having to fill out up to 4 different forms and perform at least 2 different kinds of filing as well as keeping all the dates in mind. We believe business leaders time are better spent elsewhere other than focusing on getting all your information right, finding the right forms, filing on time, and keeping an easily accessible database of records.
Our recommendation is using a digital incident management system like VIT (Vigilant Technologies) to help walk through documenting incidents and store easily on a cloud database. Once an incident report has completed, stored, and standardized, predictive modeling can be applied on top of the datasets to provide clearer insights into injuries that are likely to occur. Supervisors can log into VIT's web application on their computer to enter their information. And with VIT's incident management system, businesses only need to fill out 1 form and we'll handle the busy work of generating all your necessary forms and filing them accordingly. We've helped businesses reduce unsafe behaviors by over 50% and reduce injuries over the course of a year by 33% which ultimately lowers a business's workers compensation premiums. Set up a time to talk to a VIT representative to get your business started on a free trial!