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Employer Responsibilities – Accident Investigations

Updated: Feb 8, 2020

Topic: Accident Investigation Forms

Importance: Requirement

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970 requires certain employers to prepare and maintain records of work related injuries and illnesses. In fulfillment of this requirement,

OSHA developed a series of specific record keeping forms: OSHA’s Form 300, 300A, and 301. The OSHA 300 series forms are written in plain language and are intended to simplify work-related injury and illness record keeping and enhance company safety and health programs. The resulting data collected by these forms will be used to track and compile statistics on work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths so that employers and Cal/OSHA can develop a picture of the extent and severity of work-related incidents. They will also help Cal/OSHA identify the scope of employer-assistance needs.

Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

During each year, OSHA’s Form 300, the “Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses”, must be used to classify work-related injuries and illnesses and to note the extent and severity of each case. When an incident occurs, employers must use the Log to record specific details about what happened. On this form, employers must record information about every work-related death and about every work-related injury or illness that involves loss of consciousness, restricted work activity, or job transfer, days away from work, or medical treatment beyond first aid. They must also report significant work-related injuries and illnesses diagnosed by a physician or licensed health-care professional. Employers must also record work-related injuries and illnesses that meet any of the specific recording criteria listed in 29 CFR Part 1904.8 through 1904.12.  Note: California’s regulations can be found at: There are several state specific requirements such as:§14300.12. Recording Criteria for Cases Involving Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders, and some industries listed in § 14300.2. Partial Exemption for Establishments in Certain Industries.

Injury and Illness Incident Report

OSHA’s Form 301, the “Injury and illness Incident Report”, is one of the first forms employers must fill out when a recordable work-related injury or illness occurs. This form, or its equivalent, must be filled in within 7 calendar days after receiving information that a recordable work-related injury or illness has occurred. The form must be kept on file for 5 years following the year to which it pertains.

Employees, former employees, and their representatives have the right to review the OSHA Form 300 in its entirety. They also have limited access to the OSHA Form 301 or its equivalent. (See 29 CFR Part 1904.35, in OSHA’s record-keeping rule, for further details on the access provisions for these forms.)

Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

At the end of the year, all establishments covered in 29 CFR Part 1904 must complete OSHA’s Form 300A, the “Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses”, even if no work-related injuries or illnesses occurred during the year. After careful review of the “Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses” to verify that entries are complete and accurate, the total number of incidents in each category listed on OSHA’s Form 300 must be transferred to the Form 300A. California law requires employers to post the “Summary” page from February 1 to April 30 of the year following the year covered by the “Summary”. It must be displayed in a conspicuous location where notices to employees are customarily posted. A copy of the “Summary” must also be made available to employees who move from worksite to worksite and employees who do not report to any fixed establishment on a regular basis. At the end of the three-month period, the “Summary” should be taken down and kept on file for a period of five years following the year to which it pertains.

[For copies of OSHA’s Form 300, 300A, and 301 or further information clarifying mandatory record-keeping, including which employers are exempt or no longer exempt, visit Cal/OSHA’s Web site’s Record-keeping e-tool at ,or visit the federal OSHA Web site. For employers without Internet access or for questions not addressed on these Web sites, call your local Cal/OSHA consultation office.]

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