OSHA Defense

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Recordable Injuries: Why Employees Should Care

While some work-related injuries may seem pretty insignificant, all work injuries should be reported, no matter how small. Recording them protects you and also protects your company by preventing the first-aid injury from elevating to an OSHA recordable injury. 

OSHA, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, oversees worker safety. 

What is a Recordable Injury? 

OSHA requires that all work-related injuries be recorded. Of course, all severe injuries are always recordable. This includes any injury resulting in missed workdays, restricted duty, loss of consciousness, or death. 

Recordable injuries are considered a negative mark on a company’s safety record because insurance companies and large contractors bidding out work look at Total Recordable Incident Rates and Experience Modifier Rates. Those quantify the rate of workplace injuries. 

Insurance companies base the cost of premiums and insurability primarily on those injury rates. They can also be significant factors in being awarded future project bids. When a company’s injury rate is high, larger companies will not even allow the subcontractor to bid on work because it is deemed too much of a liability. 

A high rate of recordable injuries can significantly impact business because if a company is spending so much on insurance, it may lose work, lay off employees, not give employee bonuses, or skip other perks. 

So, the overall goal is to prevent incidents and injuries. When they do occur, however, they need to be reported immediately. 

Employees need to be made aware that even if an injury does not involve a loss of consciousness or fractures, it should still be recorded. More common, less severe injuries should be recorded based on the medical care provided following the injury. For example, if it only requires first aid, it does not need to be recorded but should still be reported. 

First Aid Examples as Defined By OSHA 

  • Using bandages 
  • Cleaning a wound 
  • Using hot or cold therapy 
  • Using non-prescription medicine 

Recordable Versus Not Recordable Injuries 

Say an employee gets a small cut on their knee. They decide not to report it and wipe blood on their dirty pants. Three days later, their cut gets infected and swells. The plant doctor prescribes antibiotics. This is a RECORDABLE injury because the treatment went beyond first aid. 

Had the employee immediately alerted their supervisor, they would have been taken to the plant doctor, who would have cleaned the cut and bandaged it, avoiding the infection and the need for antibiotics. Therefore, this WOULD NOT have been a recordable injury. 

If enough small injuries turn into recordable injuries, it can affect whether your company can bid on a $100 million job or not. 

Taking this all in should lead you to conclude that you are harming your business by not reporting an injury. Every company employee depends on each other to complete work. So, working safely and reporting injuries is a responsibility every employee should take seriously. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.