oshaThe Occupational  Safety & Health  Administration (OSHA) is responsible for overseeing workplace safety and compliance.

OSHA has new record keeping changes that will be enacted January 1, 2015.

In the past, only certain industries had to maintain OSHA 300 Logs. These tended to be industries that had a history of workplace injuries, due to the nature of the work. These included manufacturing and shipping companies, as well as high injury industries like construction work.

There are many industries which in the past have been exempt from maintaining the OSHA 300 logs. The exempt list included many retail establishments, financial institutions and businesses that focused exclusively in technological and clerical work.

However, beginning in January, many new businesses have been added to those companies that must maintain the logs. Some of these new businesses include:

  • Automobile dealers
  • Automobile parts stores and tire dealers
  • Specialty food stores
  • Liquor/beer/wine stores
  • Ambulatory health care facilities

According to OSHA, employers have to report the following events: work-related fatalities, work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees or any loss of limbs or eyes.

In-patient hospitalizations that are the result of a car accident (in most cases), or that occur on public transportation are exempt from reportings. In addition, in-patient hospitalizations for the purposes of diagnostic testing are not required to be reported.

All of these new businesses that have to turn in logs will become part of the OSHA data collection. If it turns out that more injuries occur at these establishments than was previously thought, this will certainly trigger future oversight on OSHA’s part.

Some action items to take now:

  • It is important that all companies avail themselves of the information on the OSHA.gov website about compliance and recordkeeping.
  • There needs to be a designated person within each company who is in charge of all OSHA recordkeeping. Although the OSHA logs are not onerous, haphazard attention will surely be a recipe for a disaster.
  • Be sure to keep all physical copies of records which require an executive signature. Having an electronic copy without  a signature will not be sufficient.