The new regulation, which takes effect Jan. 18, is OSHA’s response to a 2012 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Volks case, which found that the company was not subject to a record-keeping citation after six months had elapsed since the alleged violation occurred.
Under the new rule, records must be retained for five years, and a citation may be issued any time during that period, if those records are found to be out of compliance.
Affected by the regulation are employer OSHA 300 Logs, OSHA 301 Incident Reports, and the OSHA 300A Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses.
Employers are advised to review their record-keeping practices with the following in mind, according to an article by Rod Smith and his colleagues at the Sherman & Howard law firm:
- All recordable injuries and illnesses must be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log within seven calendar days of receiving information that a recordable injury or illness has occurred.
- If the entry is not made within seven calendar days, there remains a continuous duty to do so for the five-year period that the records are retained.
- If additions or corrections to the OSHA 300 Log are necessary, they too must be made as soon as possible. This obligation runs for five years. Additions or corrections could include the discovery of previously unrecorded cases, “lined-out” cases later found not to be recordable, or even changes to the classification or description of a previously recorded case. Additions and corrections to the 301 Incident Report and the 300A Summary are not required.
- Required records must be retained for five calendar years.
- Review your OSHA 300 Logs for accuracy and completeness at the end of 2016. Prepare and post the OSHA 300A Summary for each establishment in your company by February 1, 2017.