Every year, millions of workers do not report to work due to minor illnesses to serious injuries. According to one report, the average employee missed 4.4 working days in 2018 due to a variety of illnesses or injuries. Of those missed days, minor illnesses like coughs and colds accounted for over 1/4 of sick days in 2018. While four sick days per year might not seem like a lot, they can certainly add up, even for companies who hire just a few workers. Lost productivity and higher workers compensation payments all add to the total “cost” of sick days that employers face.
However, when employees do NOT report the illnesses or injuries they suffer from, longer-term consequences become more likely. A simple cold can quickly spread throughout a poorly ventilated office environment, leading to dozens of workers needing to take time off. The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has only further cemented the importance of workplace illness reporting as part of a responsible and healthy workplace environment.
Below, we take an in-depth look at the importance of workplace illness reporting and how the OSHA recordability guide and OSHA injury and illness report play into this important aspect of maintaining a healthy workforce.
Why Does OSHA Require Employees to Report Any Illnesses or Workplace Injuries?
Why exactly does the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require employees to report any illnesses or injuries that occur while on the job? According to their website, the function of this rigorous record keeping system is stated as follows:
“Employees who have information about the occupational injuries and illnesses occurring in their workplace are better informed about the hazards they face. They are therefore more likely to follow safe work practices and to report workplace hazards to their employers. When employees are aware of workplace hazards and participate in the identification and control of those hazards, the overall level of safety and health in the workplace improves.”
For example, if a worker in a warehouse has to report and record a relatively minor injury that occurred due to improper handling of machinery, then that same worker will certainly be more aware of those dangers in the future.
Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic has only further driven home the need for mutual responsibility of all workers in the task of limiting infections and outbreaks that could occur within the workplace. A worker who dutifully records a minor cold and is sent home for the day could be helping to avoid a potentially serious COVID-19 outbreak that could affect dozens of other workers who share that same workplace. These workplaces could be anywhere from a packaging plant to a cruise ship.
In many cases, the OSHA requirements for reporting and recording illnesses are now part of a larger strategy aimed at COVID prevention.
Paperwork Requirements for OSHA Injury and Illness Reporting
The OSHA recordkeeping website states that “many employers with more than 10 employees are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses.” Certain low-risk industries are exempted from this requirement and most minor injuries requiring only first aid do not need to be recorded at all. You can read a more detailed guide about how OSHA defines a recordable illness or injury here.
To record workplace injuries and illnesses, businesses can download forms 300, 301, and 301 A at this website. To determine which paperwork you need to fill out and to read the full OSHA recordkeeping regulation, you can follow this link.
Of course, prevention is the best way to deal with potential workplace injuries and illnesses. Instead of having to deal with tedious amounts of OSHA paperwork, developing strategies and policies aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of your employees should be a high priority.
Prevention & Reporting Training Starts With Work-Fit
Work-Fit is a leading company offering onsite injury prevention and management for your workforce. We have years of experience in adapting sports medicine techniques in the workplace to keep workers healthy and happy, while increasing your company's bottom line.
Our wellness management program and ergonomics services offer a number of tools to help your employees enjoy the health benefits associated with leading sports therapy techniques.
When successfully incorporated, the number of illnesses and accidents reported to OSHA will most likely quickly decline, thus helping you maintain high productivity levels while lowering the number of days your employees miss due to injury or illness.
If you’re interested in having professionals incorporate sports therapy techniques to actively improve the health and wellness of your employees, contact Work-Fit today to learn about how we can help your team!