HOW to COMPLY with RECORD KEEPING RULES  - OSHA 300, 300a, OSHA Form 301

OSHA Record Keeping Rules require maintaining several types of forms, including OSHA 300 and 300a, along with the OSHA 301 Form

It is also recommended to keep track of the safety measures in place, along with a record of any and all employee training provided on the OSHA Record Keeping Rules.  Each form benefits the employer and employee in specific ways, and makes OSHA compliance manageable.  It’s a win-win for each!

Documentation of Workplace Activities 

OSHA recommends keeping neat, organized records for the following activities, as it is beneficial to both the employer and employee.  Though it may seem like pure bureaucratic red tape, documenting the following areas usually makes the employer’s life MUCH easier when an OSHA Inspector comes calling!

  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Insurance Audits
  • Government Inspections
  • Safety Policy Statements
  • Safety Training Records
  • Safety and Health Meetings
  • Any Information Distributed to Employees
  • Medical Information

How Can Documenting These Activities Benefit the Employee?

1.  Maintaining these records demonstrates sound business management.

2.  Having these documents kept in an organized fashion shows “good faith”, and may help reduce proposed penalties from OSHA inspections, as well as audits by insurance and other agencies. OSHA recommends producing records during the closing interview of an OSHA inspection to show compliance efforts and to help the OSHA inspector determine time frames given to address compliance.  Diligence in advance can pay off!

3.  With the help of thorough records, the employer can efficiently review the existing safety and health policies.  The employer is then better equipped to reduce or even eliminate workplace incidents through planning and implementing modifications and offering safety training.


Required Forms to Use Include:

Besides the recommended forms listed above, the record keeping rules of OSHA require three (four for some) specific forms to be maintained by non-exempt employees.  Read through the brief descriptions below of each required recordkeeping form, then click on the specific links to learn more about the benefits of keeping each type of form (or click on the name link).

1.  Injury/Illness Incident Form (Form 301)This individual incident form OR an equivalent form (such as a worker’s compensation, insurance, or other similar report form) should be completed each time there is a work-related injury or illness incident. It is a more detailed form than the Form 300 Log, but the workplace accident information recorded should agree.  This form does NOT have to be sent to OSHA, but must be kept for 5 years following the year they cover, in case OSHA requests them.

2.  Log of Work-Related Injury/Illness Records (Form 300) This is a required form for companies meeting the OSHA 1904 guidelines. This form helps OSHA and employers track at a glance the scope and seriousness of work-related incidents.  This form also does NOT have to be sent to OSHA, but must be kept for 5 years following the year they cover, in the event OSHA requests them.

3.  Summary Form (Form 300A)  This required summary form makes posting and calculating incident rates simple, and is required to be posted by February 1 of the year following the form year, and is to stay posted until April 30 of that year.  Once again, this form does NOT have to be sent to OSHA, but must be kept for 5 years following the year they cover, so that they can be submitted if OSHA requests them.

4.  Exposure RecordsIf employees at OSHA-regulated facilities face exposure to toxic substances and hazardous exposures, then the employer is required to maintain records on the exposure to toxic substances and hazardous exposures, physical examination records, and employment files.  These records need to be kept for the duration of the employee’s work time with that company PLUS 30 years.

5. Emergency Response Plan – Employers must have an emergency response plan (a.k.a. Emergency Action Plan).  


Other Records to Keep

Self-Inspection Records Explore thyself. Herein are demanded the eye and the nerve. - Henry David Thoreau

While not required, Self-Inspection Forms are a key component to assist the employer in following OSHA record keeping rules.  They help you know where likely hazards exist, whether they are under control, if they need modifications, or should be completely eliminated in order to avoid workplace incidents. (The need for self-inspection could apply to many areas in life, not just OSHA Compliance!)

Accident Investigation Performing an Accident Investigation helps determine the how and why causes of workplace accidents, along with how to prevent re-occurrences by looking at factors such as:

  • People
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Surroundings

OSHA says to keep all records, unless otherwise specified, for at least five years.  From time to time, review the records and look for any workplace incident patterns or repeat causes of workplace accidents.  These records can help employers identify high-risk areas that require immediate attention.

Additional information