Reporting injuries to OSHA and your workers' comp insurer — what's the difference?

You probably already know that you must report all workplace injuries to your workers’ compensation insurer. But in some cases you must also report the injury to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) .

Injuries that must be reported directly to OSHA

You must report the following types of injuries directly to OSHA:

  • Work-related fatalities occurring within 30 days of the incident must be reported to OSHA within eight hours
  • Work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye occurring within 24 hours of the incident must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours. You can read more information about the definition of an amputation and loss of an eye in this OSHA Interpretation Letter and on the OSHA Reporting webpage in the FAQs .

In addition, Minnesota employers must contact Minnesota OSHA for a report of injury to an employee operating a mechanical power press . The form can be printed and faxed or mailed to the Minnesota Department of Labor.

How to report injuries to OSHA

Here’s state-specific contact information to report a fatality or severe injury to OSHA:

  • Minnesota: Call (877) 470-6742 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. To report an incident after business hours, call the federal office at (800) 321-OSHA (6742)
  • Iowa: Call (877) 242-6742 or fill out the Incident Report Form and fax it to (515) 281-7995 or email osha@iwd.iowa.gov.
  • Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Nebraska: Call the Federal OSHA office at (800) 321-OSHA (6742) or the closest area office if it is during business hours. You can also report online .

Some employers required to keep injury logs

OSHA also requires that certain types of businesses maintain injury logs . All employers in the state of Minnesota with 11 or more full- or part-time employees, regardless of industry or NAICS code, must maintain a log.

Requirements to maintain a log in other states depend on the industry. Low-hazard industries are excluded and you can view the list on the OSHA recordkeeping webpage  (under “FAQs on who must keep records”).

When recording injuries on the OSHA 300 log, there are a few key differences between reporting work injuries to your insurer and OSHA to keep in mind:

  • Injuries should be reported to your insurer immediately regardless of seriousness, but for OSHA, only fatalities and the severe injuries listed above must be reported right away.
  • You should report all injuries to your insurer, even those that don’t require medical attention; however, not all injuries reported to your insurer will meet the definition of an OSHA recordable injury or illness. All OSHA recordable injuries must be recorded on the log within seven calendar days of occurrence. View the OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Requirements  for more information on how OSHA defines a recordable injury or illness and first aid.
  • State workers' compensation regulations have a waiting period to determine when a claim becomes lost time, but OSHA does not have a waiting period. OSHA counts calendar days beginning the day after the incident occurs for Days Away from Work cases and Restricted Work or Transfer cases.
  • OSHA’s Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses , detailing injuries from the previous year, must be posted annually from February 1 to April 30 in a place where employees can see it, even if there were no recordable work-related injuries or illnesses during the year.
  • You may also be required to submit the Form 300A to OSHA electronically. See our blog post on OSHA’s electronic reporting requirements for employers for more information.

While reporting to your insurer and OSHA are typically two separate things, there is one area where they overlap. The First Report of Injury form generated when you file a workers’ compensation claim can serve as a substitute for the OSHA 301  form in some states, including Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Where to find more information on OSHA recordkeeping

Recordkeeping can be confusing at times, especially with the differences between OSHA and workers’ compensation. The OSHA website on recordkeeping and reporting requirements is a good resource. If you’re an SFM policyholder, your SFM loss prevention representative can also help answer any questions about recordkeeping.

This is not intended to serve as legal advice for individual fact-specific legal cases or as a legal basis for your employment practices.

This post was originally published on October 10, 2016, and updated on August 1, 2018.

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