OSHA 300 Case Study: The Effects of Over Recording

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May 21st, 2010

“Better to be safe than sorry.” This is normally a good philosophy to live by. But when it comes to filling out your company OSHA 300 log, this is one time where that rule can cost you.

Unfortunately, many of the people assigned to fill out the OSHA 300 log on behalf of their company haven’t been the beneficiaries of any formal training. The OSHA log may have been thrown on their desk and because of that, they operate by the philosophy that if I send it into workers’ compensation, then I’m going to also put it on the OSHA 300 log. This can result in over recording and inflated incident and severity rates – which could have serious consequences for your business!

The incident rate and severity rate (or DART rate) are two formulas that OSHA uses to measure workplace safety. Safety professionals will use these numbers as a benchmarking tool to compare accident rates for companies nationwide in the same industry – regardless of company size. These rates are an equalizer of companies of all different sizes because it’s based on total hours worked in the company.

Incident Rate Formula

Incident rates are determined by taking the number of OSHA recordables (taken from the 300 log at the end of the year) multiplied by 200,000 divided by the total number of hours worked in your company – both by employees and temporary employees.

The DART Rate, which is an acronym for Days Away or Restricted Time, is a measure of accident severity. It counts the number of cases in the calendar year in which a company had an employee away from work due to an injury or who was working under restrictions due to a work injury.

Knowing the above information, let’s take a look at a real-world example of a company who was operating with the “better safe than sorry” mentality and how it could have affected their chance to bid on a new piece of business.

CASE STUDY:

We received a phone call from a painting contractor who needed our help because they had to calculate their incident rate in order to bid on a job – it was a requirement of the bid.

In looking at their OSHA 300 log, this painting contractor had 8 incidents recorded in the calendar year. The problem was that they had only worked 90,000 hours that year. Using the formula explained above, we calculated their incident rate at 17.8. This rate was 4 times the national average for painting contractors. For companies or general contractors looking to hire this painter, this is a serious red flag and could likely be a deciding factor in determining if they get the work.

Based on years of experience, our first thought was that they didn’t complete the OSHA 300 log properly.

We sat down with this contractor and went through each of the 8 cases on their OSHA log in detail. It turns out that in 3 of those 8 cases, the people never even went to the doctor – which means it shouldn’t be on the 300 log. We also noticed a few other inaccuracies. So, when finished, there were only 2 legitimate injuries that should have been entered on the OSHA 300 log. We made the necessary corrections and recalculated their incident rate to be a legitimate 4.44 – which compares very well with the national average of 4.0 for painting contractors.

This new incident rate is something a potential customer or general contractor would feel much more comfortable with, as opposed to the incident rate of 17.8, which would be alarming.

If you’re over reporting on your OSHA 300 log, your company can end up with excessively high frequency and severity rates, which can draw the wrong kind of attention. Typically, if OSHA sees a company with a high incident rate, they would be concerned that the company is not controlling the work place. They, along with potential customers, see it as an out-of-control injury situation.

Do you know if your OSHA 300 log is filled out correctly? Are you over recording? What you don’t know could be costing you.

Contact us today to set up an appointment and learn how our risk management and loss control experts can help you. If you’re interested in learning more about the OSHA 300 log, consider attending one of our OSHA 300 Webinars. Please contact Traci Catalano at 800-566-7007 to reserve your spot.

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