February 1st is the deadline to prepare, certify and post the OSHA 300A Annual Summary of workplace injuries and illness. The Form 300A is a summation of the workplace injuries and illnesses recorded on the OSHA 300 Logs during the previous calendar year, as well as the total hours worked the previous calendar year by all covered employees. By February 1st of every year, employers must:
> Review their OSHA 300 Logs;
> Verify that the entries on the 300 Log are complete and accurate;
> Correct any deficiencies identified on the 300 Log;
> Use the injury data from the 300 Log to calculate an annual summary of injuries and illnesses and complete the 300A Annual Summary Form; and
Certify the accuracy of the 300 Log and the 300A Summary Form.
Employers often make mistakes related to this annual injury and illness Recordkeeping duty allowing for citations and penalties imposed by OSHA. Four Common Mistakes made by employers are:
- Not having an appropriate management representative “certify” the 300A form
- Not posting the 300A form for years in which there were no recordable injuries
- Not maintaining a copy of the “certified” version of the 300A form
- Not updating prior years’ 300 Logs based on newly discovered information about previously unrecorded injuries or changes to injuries that were previously recorded.
The process of “certifying” the 300A Annual Summary Form would seem to be a simple matter. However, many employers fail to understand that this form must be “certified” by a “company executive”. The company executive is defined in Section 1904.32(b)(4) as an owner of the company, an officer of the corporation, the highest ranking company official working at the particular establishment for which the 300A Form is being completed, or the immediate supervisor of the highest ranking company official working at the establishment. This executive must certify that he or she personally examined the 300A Annual Summary Form and personally examined the OSHA 300 Log from which the 300A Annual Summary Form was developed, and finally “reasonably believes”, based upon their knowledge of their company’s recordkeeping system that the 300A Annual Summary Form is accurate and complete.
The 300A Annual Summary Form must be posted in a location at the workplace where employee notices are generally posted. The 300A Form must remain posted there for three (3) months through April 30th. Employers often fail to prepare and/or post the 300A Form in those years during which there were no recordable injuries or illnesses at the establishment. The law requires completion and posting of the 300A form, entering zeroes in each column total, for the years when there were no recordable injuries.
After posting the 300A Form, employers must maintain a copy of the certified form at the establishment covered by the form or at a central location for five (5) years. The employer must also keep a copy of the underlying OSHA 300 Log from which the 300A Annual Summary Form was developed and any corresponding 301 Incident Report Forms. It is important for employers to understand that keeping or saving the 300A Annual Summary Form electronically is not sufficient. Employers must retain for five (5) years a version that was printed, “certified” typically by a handwritten signature of an executive, and posted at the facility.
Finally, another common mistake employers make is to file the old 300 Logs and fail to update them when new information comes to light about injuries recorded on those logs. Employers are required to update the 300 Logs during the five year retention period with newly discovered recordable injuries or illnesses, or to correct previously recorded injuries and illness to reflect changes that have occurred in classification or other details.
The requirement of completion, certifying, and posting the 300A Annual Summary Form is separate and apart from the electronic data submission requirement of OSHA’s new Electronic Recordkeeping Rule. Employers should not confuse submission of injury and illness data to OSHA electronically with the requirement of certifying and posting the 300A Annual Summary Form.
Please contact a member of our Labor & Employment Section with any questions.