OSHA 300 Reportable Incidents vs Work Comp Reportable Claims

Workers’ compensation claims and OSHA 300 log recordable incidents, contrary to common misperception, are not the same set of workplace incidents. Rather, work comp and OSHA use significantly different criteria for reportability/recordability and one doesn’t translate well into the other. In other words, it is not very useful for the employer to look at work comp claims info to help with their OSHA log. For example:

  • Most any injurious event can be a work comp claim. OSHA recordability must exceed first aid in nature even if given by a medical professional at a medical facility. Thus, many small work comp claims are not OSHA recordable. OSHA gives very specific guidance for this at: https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/OSHA-RK-Forms-Package.pdf
  • OSHA counts lost time as the first day after the day of the accident. WC waits till 32 hours or 4 days have been missed and does not capture those first days.
  • Employees may have opted to take sick time in lieu of wage loss benefits in which case work comp would not capture the lost time.
  • OSHA counts days restricted or transferred. WC info does not capture these when indemnity does not apply.
  • An “indemnity” work comp claim may or may not involve lost time – it could be only an impairment award or an indemnity settlement with no missed work. Even with an impairment award, the event may or may not have resulted in work restrictions or transfer.
  • An employee may have opted not to even file a work comp claim, but that does not impact the OSHA recordability of the incident.

Montana State Fund must abide by medical confidentiality requirements and may not be able to tell an employer the nature of an injured employee’s medical condition or treatments received. The best approach for an employer is to keep the 300 log up to date as each incident occurs (it is OSHA required that the employer do so, rather than waiting till the Feb 1st posting date). Generally the recordability status of an incident will be evident by the employer’s direct knowledge. Other sources of information for the employer include the Medical Status form which will indicate any restrictions that will make the incident recordable. The employer may also ask the employee about the nature of the treatment. This could be asked in a way such that the recordability criteria are told to the employee and the employee asked to indicate if the condition/treatment meets the criteria. While most employees would not hesitate to be forthright, this approach will allow them to avoid disclosing their specific condition or treatment to their employer.