Creating a hazard-free work environment is a Herculean task, made even more difficult with the increased rules and regulations of workplace safety.
The direct and indirect costs of recordable injuries can wreak havoc on 1) your company’s bottom line 2) ability to compete for new business and 3) the continuity of day-to-day operations of your facility/jobsite. Below we will examine what makes an injury recordable and some techniques to help reduce your recordable injury rate.
What is a Recordable Injury?
First, we must look at what OSHA defines as a recordable injury. An injury or illness would be considered recordable for:
- Any work-related fatality
- Any work-related injury/illness that results in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job
- Any work-related injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid
- Any work-related diagnosed case of cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones or teeth, and punctured eardrums
- There are special recording criteria for work-related cases involving needlesticks and sharp injuries, medical removal, hearing loss and tuberculosis
OSHA’s Documentation Requirements
A recordable injury and the post-accident analysis generate quite a bit of additional paperwork. OSHA requires that records be maintained at the worksite for at least five years. Each February through April, employers must post a summary of the recordable injuries and illnesses for the previous year. Also, if requested, copies of the records must be provided to current and former employees, or their representatives. See how Safety Indicators can automate this process..
Safety Documents To Retain
Many employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Other documents that an OSHA compliance officer might want to have access to include:
- Log of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses
- Written Safety Plan
- Drug Enforcement Policy
- Disciplinary Action Procedure
- Employee Training Records and Certifications
- Site Inspections, Audits and Assessments
- Job Hazards Analysis
- Corrective Action Plans
- Safety Meeting Minutes
Each industry comes with its own unique set of risks and hazards. The methodology for collecting reports and data will differ for every industry but there are several techniques that can be universally applied:
- Routine Inspections – Inspections help to identify and record hazards for corrective action. The inspections allow you to receive feedback from employees, gain understanding of jobs and tasks and determine underlying causes of hazards.
- Spontaneous Assessments – Tour the worksite looking for any hazards present or likely to be present. Ask employees questions to gauge their knowledge and competency in your safety protocols.
- Knowledge Investigation/Analysis – Take data from inspections/assessments/audits and determine whether changes need to be made in equipment, facilities, materials, personnel or work practices. Look for trends in injuries, illnesses and hazards reported.
- Corrective Action Program – Lay out a plan to fix the issues and prevent future incidents from occurring.
Eight Techniques To Limit Recordable Injuries
Once you have analyzed the documents created and the data collected, it is time to turn that information into an actionable plan to reduce recordable injuries. These techniques have been proven to help initiate a safer work environment and reduce the number of recordable injuries:
- Communicate Importance of Safety – Right from the hiring process and from every level of management, stress the importance that safety plays with your company. Continuously reinforce that mantra during training, staff meetings and performance evaluations.
- Train Employees on Safety Practices – Provide new employees with proper safety training as well as workers whose duties have changed. Training should also be part of your ongoing education practices.
- Train Care Givers to Not Over Treat – First aid does not trigger a recordable injury. Educate them on the differences in treatment practices, when applicable, that lead to a recordable or non-recordable event.
- Effectively Use Occupational Medicine Provider – If an employee is taken off work by an Emergency Room, urgent care clinic or personal physician, the employee should be seen by an occupational medicine provider. A contracted occupational medicine provider can override another opinion regarding lost work days.
- Document Doctor’s Opinion – Recordability is based on the doctor’s opinion, not on the employee’s actions. If a medical provider states that an employee can work, the injury is not recordable.
- Focus on Your Workplace Injuries – Every business is unique and so are the injuries that occur there. Pay extra attention to the injuries and hazards that are specific to your industry and site.
- Report Job Injuries Immediately – Late reporting or late notice of an injury can cause an unnecessary recordable. Once an employee receives medical treatment, the case is OSHA recordable.
- Review Your Work Practices – Review your work practices, especially looking for inefficiencies that could be corrected with personnel changes or additional staffing.
A Tool To Help You Optimize Your Health And Safety Plan
Safety Indicators cloud-based safety management software can serve as a repository for all the medical surveillance data and documentation that employers are required to maintain under the new rule. The easy-to-use software gives you the ability to track and report exposures, employee work histories, days accrued toward testing thresholds and any other pertinent information that employers must provide in order to comply with the new standards.