OSHA has long maintained that most US companies need to promptly record their recordable incidents on their OSHA log and keep that record for 5 years. But, per federal law, if a company did not place an entry on their log, OSHA could issue a citation for that error, but limited to within 6 months of the incident not being reported. This statue of limitations was the law of the land since 2011 following an OSHA Review Commission case involving a company by the name of Volk . This company was cited by OSHA and agreed that they missed an entry for an employee illness (related to an elevated blood lead level) in their log .
OSHA responded to its unfavorable judgement by creating a clarification document. That document set the window to 5 years of log entries for which a company could be cited.
A congressional ruling will nullify OSHA’s clarification rule, as soon as President Donald Trump signs the resolution. President Trump signed the legislation on March 3rd, 2017 (3), which will narrow the window for OSHA log citations to entries made in the past six months.
OSHA’s memory for recordkeeping has changed and probably will again, as the political climate changes.
Employers who fall under the requirements for maintaining OSHA logs are urged to continue to report recordable incidents using the OSHA 300 log, and associated forms. This is still the law and still a convenient way to track accidents, trends and incidence rates.
If you have any question as to your requirements to maintain a OSHA log, exceptions to the regulation exist, and are based on the number of employees and on the type of business. In general, companies with 10 or fewer employees (on average for the calendar year) are exempt. For employers with over 10 employees, you can find business types that are exempt from maintaining an OSHA log from OSHA’s 29 CFR 1904 Subpart B, Appendix A.
For questions and verification on the most current regulations, please refer to your local OSHA office or website. For assistance in following this or other safety regulations, or for developing a tracking or trending program that uses your OSHA log to measure the safety success of your company or business unit, please contact United Alliance Services at (774) 302-4305.