What is an OSHA Recordable Injury and How Does It Impact My Business?

OSHA Recordable Injury

By Amy Bernstein, Employee Safety Specialist



An OSHA recordable injury is a concept that any employer with more than 10 employees must understand.

OSHA requires that companies maintain a log of injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace. They also provide recordkeeping requirements to determine which injuries must be recorded on this log.

OSHA recordable injuries can have a major impact on the way you do business, so it’s important to understand what’s required.


What is an OSHA recordable injury?

An OSHA recordable injury is any injury or illness that results in one of the following:

  • Death
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid
  • Days away from work
  • Restricted work or transfer to another job
  • Loss of consciousness

If you have more than 10 employees, any injury meeting the above criteria must be recorded on the OSHA log (with a few exceptions ). All employers, however, are required to report fatalities and severe injuries to OSHA.

Based on the number of OSHA recordable injuries and the number of hours worked, you calculate your company’s incidence rate. The incidence rate is the number of OSHA recordable injuries compared to the number of hours logged in a calendar year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the overall incidence rate for private industry is 2.8 cases per 100 full-time employees. However, average incident rates can vary significantly by industry. You can calculate your incidence rate and compare it to industry averages with this calculator.


How do OSHA recordable injuries impact my business?

Every OSHA recordable injury counts toward your incidence rate, regardless of the type of injury or where it happens. Whether it’s a shoulder sprain on the job site or a slip on the ice outside the office, if there is medical treatment and it meets the criteria, you must record it on your OSHA log.

Maintaining safety is essential because OSHA recordable injuries have a ripple effect on multiple areas of your business. Here’s how an injury can impact different people inside and outside your company:

  • Injured employee: The injured person has possible pain, stress and loss of quality of life.
  • The rest of the team: Being down an employee and not performing at 100% puts the additional workload on the remaining team members.
  • Customers: Your customers may use your incident rate as a benchmark for safety performance. If you have an incidence rate that is above industry average, it can lead to scrutiny from customers and loss of business and contracts.
  • Insurance: Companies use the incidence rate to help determine insurance premiums. More injuries = more risk = more $$$.
  • Potential employees: Current employees talk about their jobs. If a company is known for poor safety, the company’s public image will be tarnished, and you may struggle to hire new employees.

Clearly, OSHA recordable injuries can have a major impact on your ability to do business and on your employees’ lives.

To reach safety goals, everyone in your company must engage in safe behaviors and decision-making. Establishing a positive safety culture and training programs are key to keeping your incidence rate low.


Read more:

What the Five Types of Safety Controls Look Like in Practice

4 Essential Construction Safety Tips for Contractors