OSHA's deadline for posting injury and illness records for 2018 is just around the corner. Employers required to maintain OSHA logs must submit their reports between February 1 and April 30, 2019 — and many organizations use this time to compare year-over-year safety incident rates and identify trends, which can then be factored into their safety strategies for the year ahead.
If you're in the process of doing just that — or if you're scrambling to determine what happened, when and to whom — here are some helpful tips for building next year's safety strategy and staying compliant.
Once you've been notified of a work-related injury or illness, you've got seven calendar days from the time of notice to determine recordability for your OSHA log. It's both unwise and a violation of the 1904 recordkeeping rule to delay the status of your OSHA log until the month before they're due! Plus, chasing down the details of an incident months after it occurred can prove extremely difficult, as some of the determining criteria may be buried in claims files, incomplete or just plain missing. It's also a sure sign that an employer is disconnected from an important part of the post-incident process.
If your organization is responsible for managing the day-to-day supervision of other employees based on a staffing arrangement, this task can become even more challenging — obtaining information through layers of management between two employers is both tough and time consuming.
plan and communicate
This year's deadline is ideal for setting quarterly and monthly goals around safety, including:
ensure senior-leader oversight
Executives can help connect safety awareness with details of incidents, recordable information, near-hit and prevention methods while ensuring recordkeeping requirements are up to date. A simple and consistent review process can maintain momentum and keep all stakeholders aligned with the process to foster continual improvement.
set expectations for stakeholders
There are a host of influencers who can be leveraged to create a safe work environment — and ensure a timely and accurate reporting process. Effective leaders also use this time to reinforce expectations and requirements with influencers, including:
- human resources
- operations management
- front-line supervisors
- medical providers
- TPA and insurance teams
- staffing providers
- facilities and security teams
define goals and strive for continual improvement
Hopefully, injuries and illnesses at your organization have decreased — or better yet, disappeared entirely! Even still, a word to the wise: Don’t let your guard down! Remember, the absence of incidents doesn’t equal the absence of risk. Staying vigilant and planning proactively can help minimize the risk of incidents. Plus, having a safety plan in place can help keep safety top of mind for employees, too.
Continually improving how your business identifies, manages and controls risk will create new opportunities to increase safety, meaning fewer incidents that need to be recorded on our OSHA logs. That's a win/win for everyone. And your employees — as well as your bottom line — will reap the benefits.
Here are a few more resources from OSHA you can incorporate into your next safety planning session: