Cal/OSHA Recording and Reporting
 Jan. 28, 2011

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) requires that employers keep records and report about safety in the workplace. Among those required records is the OSHA 300 Log and your documents pertaining to safety hazard analysis, inspections, and accident investigations. Additionally, there are hazard-specific regulations relating to specific industries that require additional recordkeeping. How long should you retain records? Storage time requirements range between 1 to 5 years. As a sound business practice, retain safety and training records for 5 years.

Most employers are familiar with the OSHA 300 log. As a refresher, the 300 log records all work-related deaths along with injuries and illnesses that require more than first aid treatment. An annual summary of injuries and illnesses is required to be posted in the workplace from February 1st through April 30th. Some small businesses (less than 10 employees) and certain industries may have limited exemptions from this recordkeeping requirement. All employers must report to Cal/OSHA any serious injury, serious illness or death of an employee immediately, but no longer than 8 hours after the employer knows or with diligent inquiry would have known about the incident. If the employer can demonstrate that exigent circumstances exist, the time frame for the report may be made no longer than 24 hours after the incident.

Employers should conduct periodic Investigate all employee accidents, as well as, near misses to determine the root cause of the accident. Document any corrective actions taken to reduce the risk of further accidents. Investigate all employee complaints by recording the investigation process, the correctable hazard condition and any necessary corrective actions. Communicate back to employees the results of your inspections, accident Investigations and complaint responses. Post this information and address it at your safety meetings.

Safety training is a key component in making employees aware of the risks and hazards involved with their work tasks along with the appropriate work practices and personal protective equipment that keeps them safe. Training should include both general safety training (such as ergonomics, first aid, CPR, and injury and illness prevention) and specific work task and hazards safety training. Make sure you keep records of all employee safety training.

Employers must provide their employees access to safety records within a reasonable timeframe (usually 7 days) and must notify employees when monitoring indicates that they have been exposed to a hazard. Employees have a right to information and records about hazardous chemicals in the workplace (Material Safety Data Sheets) and hazard exposure monitoring. They also can should have access to their own safety, personnel, and medical records.

Employees also have the responsibility to report all workplace hazards, illnesses, injuries, accidents, and near misses so they can be evaluated and prevented in the future.

If you have questions about OSHA record keeping requirements contact CMTA at wcgroup@cmta.net.

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