OARS - General Information


Why are supervisors required to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses?

The OSH Act of 1970 requires the Secretary of Labor to produce regulations that require employers to keep records of occupational deaths, injuries, and illnesses. The records are used for several purposes. Injury and illness statistics are used by OSHA. OSHA collects data through the OSHA Data Initiative (ODI) to help direct its programs and measure its own performance. Inspectors also use the data during inspections to help direct their efforts to the hazards that are hurting workers. The records are also used by supervisors and employees to implement health and safety programs at the workplace. Analysis of the data is a widely recognized method for discovering workplace safety and health problems and for tracking progress in solving those problems. The records provide the base data for the BLS Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, the Nation's primary source of occupational injury and illness data.


What is the effect of workers' compensation reports on the OSHA records?

The purpose section of the rule includes a note to make it clear that recording an injury or illness neither affects a person's entitlement to workers' compensation nor proves a violation of an OSHA rule. The rules for compensability under workers' compensation differ from state to state and do not have any effect on whether or not a case needs to be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log. Many cases will be OSHA recordable and compensable under workers' compensation. However, some cases will be compensable but not OSHA recordable, and some cases will be OSHA recordable but not compensable under workers' compensation. If there is a question about a claim, a timely OARS report (within 24 hours) can only help.


Does an employee report of an injury or illness establish the existence of the injury or illness for recordkeeping purposes?

No. In determining whether a case is recordable, the supervisor must first decide whether an injury or illness, as defined by the rule, has occurred. If the supervisor is uncertain about whether an injury or illness has occurred, the supervisor may refer the employee to a physician or other health care professional for evaluation and may consider the health care professional's opinion in determining whether an injury or illness exists. [Note: If a physician or other licensed health care professional diagnoses a significant injury or illness within the meaning of significant injury or illness and the employer determines that the case is work-related, the case must be recorded.] EH&S can help the supervisor decide: email injury@uw.edu or call the OARS Administrator at 206.616.3442.