Back to the Basics: 300 Logs 101

300 Log photo

With the enactment of the new Electronic Submission Rule, it is increasingly important to have accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses. Employers who fall under the Rule must not only keep 300 Logs, they must also submit them to OSHA annually.  Even if the Rule doesn’t apply to your business at this time, your 300 Logs should be devoid of errors, as OSHA inspections or severe injuries can occur which may necessitate producing these documents.

Start by reviewing the basics to ensure you understand the essentials of this complex law. If your logs will be examined by OSHA, you want them pristine and accurate.

What are 300 Logs?  

The Form 300 are a triad of documents used to classify work-related injuries and illnesses and to note the extent and severity of each case. When such an incident occurs, the Log is used to record specific detail about what happened and how it happened. Employers must keep a separate 300 Log for each establishment or site.

Workers’ compensation requirements are not equivalent to OSHA 300 Log recording requirements.  Nor does completing insurance claim paperwork (such as a “First Report of Injury”) free you of documentation or other injury and illness requirements under OSHA.

Furthermore, under OSHA, the 300 Log incidents must be investigated, not just duly noted. This is also good business practice for you and your workers. (Being proactive is imperative, as a simple finger cut today, could be an amputation tomorrow, if you don’t find and correct potential sources of injury.)

How long do I keep 300 Logs? 

Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements,  you must keep 5 years of 300 Logs on file.

Does every employer need to keep 300 Logs?

Generally, most employers do fall under recordkeeping requirements.

But there are exemptions, which depend on two areas:

  1. The number of employees at your establishment:

Employers with ten or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records, regardless of the industry classification. 

2. Establishments in certain low-hazard industries:

A narrow list of low hazard industries exists, which are partially exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records and do not need to routinely keep 300 Logs.  This is the list of partially exempt employers who do not need to routinely keep 300 Logs.

(I’ll explain more about “partially exempt” below, because it doesn’t mean you’re totally free of all workplace injury/illness requirements, even if you meet one or both of the exemption criteria above.)

OSHA has required various industries with known hazards, such as manufacturing or construction, to keep 300 Logs, provided the company employed more than ten workers in a calendar year. But low hazard industries, were exempt from that requirement and did not need to maintain the Logs.

For example, “Building materials and Supplies Dealers” or “Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment Rental and Leasing,” were not required to keep 300 Logs.  But due to 2015 changes in OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, these industries and many previously exempt industries are now covered and must keep 300 Logs, provided of course, that they employ more than ten workers.

See Table 2 for a list of newly covered industries for details. If you were previously in a low hazard industry that did not need to keep records,  but employ more than ten workers and are in that list, you’ll now need to maintain 300 Logs.

And if you employ 20 or more workers, and are in this high hazard industry list, you’ll need to comply with the Electronic Submission Rule. That means you must submit your 2016 300 Logs to OSHA on or before December 15, 2017, as well as annually each year afterward in a phased-in schedule of dates.

What do”partially exempt” and “routinely” mean?  

If you’re still in one of the “partially exempt industries” on the above list or if you do not employ more than ten workers at any time in a calendar year, you still fall under some recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

While you may not “routinely” keep 300 Logs, a partially exempt employer must produce 300 Logs if they are asked in writing to do so by OSHA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), or a state agency operating under the authority of OSHA or the BLS.

And even if you employ only ONE (1) worker, all employers– including those partially exempted by reason of company size or industry classification– must report to OSHA any workplace incident that results in a fatality, an in-patient hospitalization of one or more workers, all amputations, and all injuries that result in loss of an eye (see §1904.39).

The 300 Logs are comprised of three forms:

  1. Form 301: Injury and Illness Incident Report:

This form is filled out when a recordable injury occurs. It details specifics about each event, including nature of injury, the name of the injured individual, the object or substance that caused the injury, events prior and during the injury and nature of medical treatment. One Form 301 is used for each recordable medical event.

  1. Form 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses:

After an event has been documented on Form 301, an overview is transcribed on this Log. You must indicate if the injury caused days away from work, death, job transfers or restrictions, as well as the injury or illness type. Specific categories include skin disorder, hearing loss, respiratory injury,  poisoning and other illnesses.  If the injury or illness resulted in days away from work or job transfers, you must note the number of days.

  1. Form 300A: Summary:

This is a summary of the entire year.  The 300A must be completed and signed by the highest official in the company. Annually, the 300A for the preceding year must be posted from February 01- April 30th in a place frequented by employees, such as a break room, or near the time clock, etc.  If you did not have any work-related injuries or illnesses in a calendar year, you must enter zero (0) at each relevant section and the form must still be completed, signed and posted.

Never post the Form 301 or Form 300, as these may contain confidential information that violates privacy rules. Only post the signed and completed 300A.

Additional Privacy Concerns and 300 Logs

OSHA’s regulation at 29 CFR 1904.35(b)(2) provides that employees, former employees, their personal representatives, and authorized employee representatives have the right to access the current OSHA 300 Log, as well as any stored OSHA 300 Log(s) for any establishment in which the employee or former employee has worked. The employer must provide to the requester one free copy of the OSHA 300 Log(s) by the end of the next business day.

Under Part 1904, the employer must provide access to the entire OSHA 300 Log and may not delete the names and cases employees.

But clearly, allowing employees to view these does create a risk that other employees’ privacy may be violated, as confidential medical information is found on these logs.

OSHA does take this into consideration. And for certain “privacy concern cases,” as specified in paragraphs 1904.29(b)(6) through 1904.29(b)(9), the agency gives direction on how to proceed.

For these privacy concern cases, OSHA applies strict requirements for protecting the confidentiality of injured and ill employees. An employer may not record the employee’s name on the OSHA 300 Log for privacy concern cases. In place of the name of the injured/ill employee, employers must enter “privacy case” in the space provided.

The following injuries and illnesses are considered privacy concern cases:

  • An injury or illness to the intimate body part or the reproductive system
  • An injury or illness resulting from a sexual assault
  • Mental illnesses
  • HIV infection, hepatitis, or tuberculosis
  • Needlestick injuries and cuts from sharp objects that are contaminated with another person’s blood or other potentially infectious material
  • Other illnesses, if the employee voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log

Beyond keeping 300 Logs, you might have to submit that data to OSHA

Additionally, if you employ 20-249 workers, and fall under a broad range of high risk industries, (read that as, “most manufacturing and construction companies”) the 300A is the form you’ll submit to OSHA annually, beginning on or before December 15, 2017, and thereafter by July 1, 2018, and by March 2 beginning in 2019.

Employers with 250+ employees, are required to follow the same time-line and documentation as above for the 2016 logs. However, they will submit all  2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

To recap– most employers do need to keep 300 Logs, unless their industry falls in a listed exempt group or if they employ ten or fewer workers. And some high hazard industries who employ 20 or more workers must not only keep 300 Logs, they must also submit them to OSHA annually, beginning this year.

What if I self-pay for small work-related medical claims?

Finally, if you’re one of those employers who pays the employees’ small medical events out-of-pocket, you’ll need to review those against the recordable requirements. Any of those injuries that meet the threshold for recordables, must still be documented on your 300 Logs. It can be a willful violation, which may be very serious and costly $$$ to keep this information from your Logs.

What kind of injuries do you record on the 300 Logs?

Follow this closely, as the line between medical treatment and first aid is often a thin one. Mistakes and under reporting and over reporting  are common due to misinterpreting the standard. Minor first under OSHA is not always as employers define it. We’ve created a blog post on this complex topic, Is That Injury Recordable, Reportable or Non-Recordable?  

Apart from OSHA, 300 Logs are valuable to you. When the logs are also combined with proactive audits and incident reports,  employers have tools which identify known and potential injury sources. These assist in applying corrections.  Doing so will save significantly on Workers’ Compensation costs, as well as ensuring your workers have a safe and healthful workplace, which boosts morale.

Retention at companies where employees feel the employer cares about their safety and health are statistically higher, than environments without a viable safety program. In this day and age, finding good help is difficult. Boosting your safety program is one way to keep qualified workers.

You may access a PDF copy of all relevant documentation 300 Log documentation here.

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