Basic Recordedkeeping Requirements
Recordkeeping for OSHA compliance can be a confusing subject. There are basically three types of records that must be maintained, Injury and Illness records, training records and disciplinary records. In order to establish that a company has taken every step possible to eliminate or control known hazards they must have four elements in place: (1) establish work rules designed to prevent injury and illness (Safety Program); (2) has adequately communicated the rules to its employee (Training); (3) has taken steps to discover known hazards (Inspections and Audits); and (4) has effectively enforced the rules when violations are discovered (Discipline). Steps 2 3 and 4 must be documented and the records must reflect at least 5 years of implemented practice. Having these processes in place will bring any organization into compliance with OSHA and will by default help reduce injuries on construction projects.
Injury/ Illness Recordkeeping
Many employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. (Certain low-risk industries are exempted.) Minor injuries requiring first aid only do not need to be recorded.
Maintaining and Posting Records
The records must be maintained at the worksite for at least five years. Each February through April, employers must post a summary of the injuries and illnesses recorded the previous year. Also, if requested, copies of the records must be provided to current and former employees, or their representatives.
Employers must report any worker fatality within 8 hours and any amputation, loss of an eye, or hospitalization of a worker within 24 hours.
Starting in 2017, many employers will be required to electronically submit the summary of injuries and illnesses to OSHA.
Read the full OSHA Recordkeeping regulation (29 CFR 1904).
Electronic Submission of Records.
Failure to document employee safety training when required by OSHA can lead to citations and fines. Even when documentation is not required, keeping good records of safety training helps you assess future training needs and keep track of employee progression through training programs. A best practice is to maintain records electronically and indefinitely.
Most of the training documentation requirements are pretty much the same from standard to standard. The wording differs a little from standard to standard, but the required information is basically the same:
- Name of the employee (signature is not required, but is OK with OSHA, if that's what you want to do)
- Name and signature of the trainer
- Date of training
- Subject of training
- Proof of competency (results of some kind of evaluation, such as a test or demonstration of ability) and date of evaluation
Review publication OSHA 2254-09R 2015, Training Requirements in OSHA Standards for more informaion.
It is important to have a documented progressive discipline process. The main thing to remember with discipline is to be consistent. Inconsistency could result in an OSHA 11c violation. Section 11(c) provides that an employer "shall not discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee . . . because of the exercise . . . of any right afforded by [the OSH Act]." As OSHA explains it, "Reporting a work-related injury or illness is a core employee right, and retaliating against a worker for reporting an injury or illness is illegal discrimination under section 11(c)." If an employee fails to follow your written program it is important to implement a progressive disciplinary process. It is highly recommended that you contact a Human Resource professional or Legal Professional versed in employment law.
A good example of a progressive disciplinary program is Indiana University.
Remember in OSHA and the courts eye’s; If You Can't Retrieve it, They Didn’t Receive it!