Understanding OSHA 300 Logs

Understanding OSHA 300 Logs

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

Forget something this month? 

Not taxes.

Not Valentines.

Not Jump Rope for Heart.

The OSHA 300 Log!  You’ve got yours posted, right? 

If so, claim your $1000 savings and stop reading this now. 

$1000? 

That’s how much your unadjusted, other-than-serious OSHA penalty will be if you don’t have yours posted from February 1st to April 30th each year. 

It’s true. Take it from me; I used to issue those penalties when I was an OSHA Investigator. It was something we had to look for during those months on our inspections. 

There are SO MANY details to maintaining the OSHA 300 Log! In my opinion, it’s worse than the process for reporting and managing workers compensation claims, and I’ve done both.

In fact, I loathe the 300 Log.  

My history with the 300 Log dates back to when it was called the OSHA 200 Log! It was 2001 and my fellow inspectors and I were gathered in an auditorium on a college campus, when the OSHA Mothership in Washington, D.C. was beamed into the auditorium to announce the change and how much EASIER the “new” OSHA 300 log and forms would be compared to the previous 200 Log and forms. I’ve reviewed and poured over countless logs as an investigator, used them to calculate various trends and have determined I prefer trending data from workers compensation claims, which I feel is more comprehensive and is tied to actual dollars. You may not agree with me; that’s okay, you don’t have to.

Minutiae aside, do you have the part you need done right now, complete and posted? 

If not, it’s okay. Let me help you get to the right resources with this FAQ.

Q. Sorry to admit it, what’s the OSHA 300 Log?

A. It’s a method of recording (on paper or electronically) injuries or illnesses occurring in your workplace in a given year. It’s also called, OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping. 

Q. I already record and report all our workplace injuries and illnesses with our workers compensation insurance company and my state government. Isn’t that enough?

A. No, two different animals.

Q. What form needs to be posted each February 1—April 30th?

A. It’s called the “300A” form. There is a distinction. The OSHA 300 form is the actual log where you record injury & illness details including private information. The 300A is a summary and doesn’t disclose employee names, etc.

Find those forms here.

Q. Do I seriously need to do this? Aren’t there any exceptions for size or type of company?

A. Yes.

See if you meet any of these exemptions:

See if you meet any of these exemptions.

Q. Do I need separate logs for different locations?

A. Yes. You must keep a separate log for each establishment that is expected to be in operations for one year or longer. 

Q. Can the 300A summary form be posted electronically or on an intranet site? 

A. No. A paper copy must be posted in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted. 

Q. Who can sign the finished 300A summary form? 

A. A company executive must certify that he or she has examined the OSHA 300 Log and that they reasonably believe the annual summary is correct and complete. The company executive who certifies the log must be one of the following persons:

  • An owner of the company (only if the company is a sole proprietorship or partnership);
  • An officer of the corporation;
  • The highest ranking company official working at the establishment;
  • Or the immediate supervisor of the highest ranking company official working at the establishment.

Q. I’m overwhelmed and you said there is a lot more to this. Where can I get help? 

A.  There is the Federal OSHA webpage dedicated to just that.

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