As Brian was repairing a conveyor belt Monday morning, his hand slipped and hit the sharp edge of the steel support bar, resulting in a cut to the back of his hand. Brian was whisked to the clinic, received five stitches and instructed by the doctor to restrict the use of his right hand for three days.

Like this injury, all injuries trigger a flow of paperwork and data. As Brian’s employer, you’ll need to start an OSHA 301 injury report or your own report if it contains all the information required by the OSHA 301. This injury will be placed on the OSHA 300 Log because the stitches and the restricted duty require it to be recorded.

You must record information about every work-related injury or injury that involves loss of consciousness, restricted work activity or job transfer, days away from work or medical treatment beyond first-aid. And you must record any work-related injuries and illnesses that meet any of the specific recording criteria listed in 29 CFR 1904.8 through 1904.12. The OSHA forms can be found at and by clicking on “publications.”

OSHA 301

The 301 injury form or your own injury report needs to be filled out as soon as possible. You don’t have to fill out the OSHA 301 if your own form contains all the information required by the 301. Most workers’ compensation forms ask for the same information. I recommend that you compare your form to the 301, make any additions to your own form, and then the 301 won’t be needed.

The 301 has information about the injured person, the treating physician and the event, including when, where and what happened.

With your incident report filled out you will be ready to move to the OSHA 300 log.

OSHA 300 Log

The 300 log has several columns requiring different information:

Column A asks for a case number. You can use any system, but an easy one is to start with “1,” dash and the year. For example: case one is 1-03, case two would be 2-03.

Columns B through F identify the person injured, job title, date of injury, where it happened and a description of the injury or illness, which should be short but descriptive. Example: Laceration to the back of the right hand from striking steel support at conveyor.

Columns G through J are used to classify the case. Mark only the most serious result of the case:

  • Column G is marked in the case of a fatality.
  • Column H is marked if the injury caused the person to miss work.
  • Column I is marked if the person had to be moved to another position or their work was restricted, as was the case with Brian’s injury.
  • Column J would be marked for all other recordable cases. This column would have been marked if Brian would have received stitches but was not restricted from using his right hand.

Columns K and L are only used if a person is restricted or will miss days of work. For Brian’s injury, a “3” will be placed in Column K. Monday, the day of the injury, wouldn’t count, but the next three days would count as restricted. Some cases can have restrictions and days away from work. For example: A person is off work for three days and then is placed on restricted duty for ten days. Keep a close track of the days accumulated, updating the numbers on the first of each month. You do not have to record lost days past 180 total days.

Column M is used to identify the incident as an injury or illness. OSHA recordables that can be the result of an illness are, for example, work-related respiratory problems or carpal tunnel.

The OSHA 300 log should be kept up to date and clearly marked. It’s one of the first documents OSHA will review during an inspection.


Before OSHA issued the 300A summary report, companies would post the OSHA 300 log (with the exception of the employee name) each February. Each year, the OSHA 300A should be posted from February 1 to April 30, reviewing the previous year’s recordable injuries. The 300A simply asks for the totals from columns G through M of your OSHA 300 log. This provides a good synopsis of the previous year’s OSHA recordables.

Using the data

The 300, 300A and the 301 forms contain valuable information that you may want to track. Tracking the injury data can help you gain a full understanding of the injuries and work-related illnesses that are occurring at your company.

Key information to track includes:

  • where and when the injury occurred;
  • what part of the body was injured;
  • the number of lost days or restricted days.

Of course, many items can be tracked. They will vary depending on the industry. Just remember that in order to have valuable data you must compile the information as the injuries occur and review that data on a continuing basis.

A safety committee is a perfect resource to compile and review data. It gets members involved in the safety program and helps them identify the causes of injuries.

Keep the OSHA logs up to date, because it is a regulation. And utilize the gathered data, because it will help you prevent future injuries.