Help for the Company Required by the Occupational Safety and Health Law to Track Injury and Illness

OSHA Form 300 = Work-Related, Working Injuries

Plan of Action for Recording Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

1. Within 7 calendar days after getting word about a case (injury or illness diagnosis), determine if it is considered by OSHA to be work-related.

2. If the case IS considered a working injury or illness, decide which form you will fill out as the injury and illness incident report.  Here are your options:

3.  You must post the Summary (Form 300a) only – NOT the Form 300 Log.  Post the summary by February 1 of the following year and keep it posted until April 30 of that year.

4.  You must keep the form 300 log for 5 years following the year to which it pertains.

5.  You do not have to send the completed forms to OSHA unless specifically asked to do so.

How to Handle Privacy Concerns When Filling Out the OSHA Form 300

  • Do NOT enter the injured/ill worker’s name on form 300 for work-related injuries and illnesses such as: sexual assaults, HIV infections, mental
  • Do NOT describe the nature of sensitive injuries where the employee’s identity would be known.
  • Give employee representatives access to only the portion of Form 301 [link to form 301 page]that contains no personal information.
  • Remove employee’s names before providing the data to persons not provided access rights.

How to Count the Number of Days of Restricted Work Activity or the Number of Days Away from Work:

  • Count the number of calendar days the employee was on restricted work activity or was away from work because of the working injury or illness.
  • Do NOT count the day on which the work-related injury or illnessBegin counting from the day AFTER the incident occurred.

OSHA 301 = Injury Report Forms

OSHA Form 301 is the more detailed injury report form to complete that gives complete details on the accident or incident that caused the injury or illness to the worker. 

Filling out the form not only fulfills OSHA requirements, but it also is a helpful step in determining WHAT happened, WHY it happened, and hopefully clues (or clear guidance) on HOW to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

Helpful Answers Regarding Questions About Injuries and Illnesses

1. What is an Injury? An injury is any wound or damage to the body resulting from an event in the work environment.  Follow the OSHA Recordable rules to determine if it is serious enough to be recorded.

2.What is an Illness? Illnesses can include skin diseases and disorders, respiratory conditions, poisoning, hearing loss, and a list of other occupational illnesses. Each is briefly described below.

3.What exactly are Skin Diseases and Disorders?  These are illnesses involving the worker’s skin that are caused by work exposure to chemicals, plants, or other substances at work.

4.What are Respiratory Conditions? These illnesses are associated with breathing hazardous biological agents, chemicals, dust, gases, vapors, or fumes at work.

5.What is Meant by the Term Poisoning?  Poisoning includes disorders evidenced by abnormal concentration of toxic substances in blood, other tissues, other bodily fluids, or the breath that are caused by the ingestion or absorption of toxic substances into the body while on the job.

6.What is Considered Work-Related Hearing Loss? Noise-induced hearing loss is defined for injury report forms as a change in hearing threshold relative to the baseline audiogram of an average of 10 dB or more in either ear at 2000, 3000, and 4000 hertz, and the employees’ total hearing level is 25 dB or more above the audiometric zero in the same ear(s).

7.What are Other Occupational Illnesses? Examples of what OSHA considers a work-related illness, if contracted at the work-environment, following the conditions of what is an OSHA Recordable:

  1. Heatstroke
  2. Sunstroke
  3. Heat exhaustion
  4. Heat stress
  5. Freezing
  6. Frostbite
  7. Other effects of exposure to low temperatures
  8. Decompression sickness
  9. Effects of ionizing radiation (isotopes, x-rays, radium)
  10. Effects of non-ionizing radiation (welding flash, ultra-violet rays, lasers)
  11. Anthrax
  12. Bloodborne pathogenic diseases (like AIDS, HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C)
  13. Brucellosis
  14. Malignant or benign tumors
  15. Histoplasmosis
  16. Coccidioidomycosis

FREE Downloadable Self-Inspection Checklists

Observe thyself as thy greatest enemy would do; so shalt thou be thy greatest friend.                                                -Jeremy Taylor -English bishop and theologian (1613 - 1667)

While OSHA is not the enemy of the workplace, it is wise to inspect your health and safety procedures at your work sites with the eyes of an OSHA inspector on a regular basis. 

Keeping self inspection checklists updated and then maintaining those lists with your other documents is a great way to “master the details before they master you,” and consequently minimize or eliminate common hazards in the workplace.

The scope of your self-inspection checklists

Following is an index of self inspection checklist topics that can point you in the right direction for what safety training and protective measures your company needs to take to maintain OSHA compliance and ensure worker safety. (Some of these areas DO overlap.)

Read more: FREE Downloadable Self-Inspection Checklists

OSHA Form 300A = Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

The interesting thing about the Summary Form 300a is that even if no work-related injuries or illnesses occur during the year, this form must still be completed! 

 All companies that are required to file the OSHA 300 and OSHA 301 are required to complete the OSHA 300A Summary Form.  Like the other forms, this form DOES NOT have to be submitted, just kept for a required 5 years, in case it IS requested by OSHA.

This is the form, however, that must be posted by February 1 of the year following the year covered by the form.  It is to be kept posted until April 30 of that year.  A good place for it is near the required Labor Law Posters (State or Federal).

To complete this form…

  • Review each entry on the OSHA Form 300 Log of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses to make sure each entry is complete and accurate.
  • Count the number of individual entries of occupational injuries and illnesses made in each category on the Form 300.
    • Write the totals in the corresponding spaces on the OSHA 300a.
    • If no cases are recorded in a category, write “0” in that blank.
  • Calculate the number of employees who worked for your company during the year.
    • Add the total number of employees your company paid in any pay period during the year.  Include all employees, whether they were full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, salaried, or hourly.                                                                                            
    • (a)________________  Number of employees paid in any pay period
    • Count how many pay periods your company had during the year.                               Include any pay periods when you had no employees.                                                                                                               
    • (b)_______________ The number of Pay Periods during the year 
    • Divide the total number of employees (a) by the number of pay periods (b).                                              
    • (a)    ________ ÷ (b)­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ ________  = (c) ________
    • Round the answer to the next highest whole number.  Write the rounded number in the blank marked Annual Average Number of Employees.                                                                                                                                                               
    • (c) rounded =  (d)  ______________________ 
  • Calculate the Total Hours Worked by ALL Employees (OPTIONAL WORKSHEET)
    • Include ALL employees: salaried, hourly, part-time and seasonal workers, as well as any hours worked by other workers subject to day to day supervision by your establishment (like temporary help services workers).
    • Do NOT include vacation, sick leave, holidays, or any other non-work time, even if employees were paid for it. If your company keeps records of only the hours paid or if you have employees who are not paid by the hour, please estimate the hours the employees actually worked.  Here is a simple optional worksheet to calculate total hours worked by your full-time employees in your workplace for the year. 

       __________   Find the number of full-time employees in your workplace for the year.

   X  ___________  Multiply by the number of work hours for one full-time employee in a year.

= (a)___________  This is the number of full-time hours worked.

 +     ___________  Add the number of any overtime hours worked.

  +    ___________  Add the number of hours worked by other employees (part-time, temporary, seasonal)

 = (b)___________ This is the TOTAL number of ALL hours worked.

     (c)___________ ROUND that TOTAL NUMBER to the next highest whole number. 

    •   Write the rounded number in the blank marked Total hours worked by all employees last year.





Calculating Your Incidence Rate is A Great Additional Optional Use for the 300A OSHA Form!

You can use the OSHA 300A form to calculate Injury and Illness Incidence Rates. Why is this helpful?  These rates can help you identify areas to improve your compliance with the OSHA health safety regulation, evaluate dangerous areas in your workplace, or better yet, highlight progress you have made in minimizing or eliminating occupational injuries and illnesses. 

What IS an Incidence Rate?

And incidence rate is the number of recordable injuries and illnesses occurring among:

  • A given number of full-time workers (usually as compared to 100 full-time workers)
  • Over a given period of time (usually a one-year span is used). 

Calculating the incident rate for your company allows you to evaluate your firm’s experience with your industry as a whole: 

  • Are you on track with the rest of your industry in terms of OSHA incident rates? 
  • Do you have gaps in the health safety regulations for your company?
  •  If so, each OSHA injury is likely already costing you money and productivity, as well as possibly endangering lives. 
  • OR is your recordable incident rate declining?  Calculating your recordable incidence rate is a GREAT way to find out if your company is on track!

 Let us strive to improve ourselves, for we cannot remain stationary: one either progresses or retrogrades.                           - Madame Marie Anne du Deffand

What Information is Needed for Calculating Incidence Rate?

There are three basic steps you must use to calculate incidence rate:

  • Tabulate all recordable OSHA injuries and illnesses during a given year.
    • Remember the OSHA Form 300 or the Summary Form 300A?  They are helpful once again!  (Who would ever believe that a government form could serve more than one purpose?!) In this case, either one will serve to give you the answer to this formula.
    • If using Form 300, simply count the number of line entries to know the number of recordable OSHA injuries and
    • If using Summary Form 300A, add the entries for columns (G), (H), (I), and (J). 
    • Now, using either form, you have the total number of recordable OSHA injuries.
  • Find out how many recordable OSHA injuries and illnesses involved days away from the company
    • Again, you can use either the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300)
    • OR use the Summary Form 300A
    • With the OSHA 300, count the number of line entries on your OSHA Form 300 that received a check mark in column (H).
    • With the OSHA 300a, use the figure from column (H) as well.
  • Add up the number of hours all employees actually worked during the year.

The Following Incidence Rate Formulas are Available Here for FREE Downloadable, Re-Printable Use.

Calculating the Incidence Rate for All Recordable Cases of Injuries and Illnesses

     _________________ Total number of Injuries and Illnesses 

x        200,000    

=   _________________ 

÷   _________________  Number of Hours Worked by all Employees

=   _________________  Total Recordable Case Rate

The 200,000 figure refers to the number of hours 100 employees working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year would typically work.  Therefore, it establishes the standard base for calculating incidence rates. NOTE: When comparing illness rates by types of illness, use 20,000,000 hours instead of 200,000 hours to get a rate per 10,000 full-time employees. 


Calculating the Incidence Rate for Recordable Cases Involving Days Away From Work and/or Job Transfer (DART)

   _________________ Total Number of Cases with Days Away From Work - Form 300A - Column H

+  _________________ Number of Cases with Job Transfer or Restriction (Column I)

X         200,000

= _________________

÷ _________________  Number of Hours Worked By All Employees

= _________________  DART Incidence Rate


Calculating the Incidence Rate for Days of Restricted Work Activity or Job Transfer (No Days Away From Work)

     _________________ Number of Cases with Job Transfer or Restriction - Form 300A - Column I

x             200,000    

= _________________

÷ _________________  Number of Hours Worked by all Employees

= _________________  Incidence Rate for Days of Restricted Work Activity or Job Transfer


Calculating Incidence Rates for Cases Involving Injuries

     _________________ Number of Cases Involving Injuries -Form 300A  Column M (1)

x             200,000    

= _________________

÷ _________________  Number of Hours Worked by all Employees

= _________________  Incidence Rate for Cases Involving Injuries


Calculating Incidence Rates for Cases Involving Skin Disorders

     _________________ Number of Cases Involving Skin Disorders -

                                   Form 300A - Column M (2)

x             200,000    

= _________________

÷ _________________  Number of Hours Worked by all Employees

= _________________  Incidence Rate for Cases Involving Skin Disorders


Calculating Incidence Rates for Cases Involving Respiratory Conditions

     _________________ Number of Cases Involving Respiratory Conditions - Form 300A

                                      - Column M (3)

x             200,000    

= _________________

÷ _________________  Number of Hours Worked by all Employees

= _________________  Incidence Rate for Cases Involving Respiratory Conditions


Calculating Incidence Rates for Cases Involving Poisonings

  _________________ Number of Cases Involving Poisonings -For 300A - Column M (4)

x             200,000    

= _________________

÷ _________________  Number of Hours Worked by all Employees

= _________________  Incidence Rate for Cases Involving Poisonings


Calculating Incidence Rates for Cases Involving Hearing Loss

   _________________ Number of Cases Involving Poisonings -Form 300A - Column M (5)

x             200,000    

= _________________

÷ _________________  Number of Hours Worked by all Employees

= _________________  Incidence Rate for Cases Involving Hearing Loss


Calculating Incidence Rates for Cases Involving All Other Illnesses

     _________________ Number of Cases Involving All Other Illnesses Fom 300A -Column M (6)

x             200,000    

= _________________

÷ _________________  Number of Hours Worked by all Employees

= _________________  Incidence Rate for Cases Involving All Other Illnesses


Using the OSHA Incidence Rates

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiles a survey of occupational injuries and illnesses each year and publishes incidence rate data in various categories:  Industry, Employer Size (no, they don’t care how much the CEO weighs!), etc. 

Incidence rates are helpful for an employer when the occupational injury and illness experience of the company is compared with that of other employers doing similar work with workforces of similar size. Information available from the BLS site permits detailed comparisons by industry and size of firm. (Scroll to the bottom of the BLS website for the links to industry-specific data.)

Additional information