Let’s help keep each other safe this National Safety Month
United States Department of Labor sent this bulletin at 06/02/2017 12:02 PM EDT
United States Department of Labor sent this bulletin at 06/02/2017 12:02 PM EDT
The following article was written by John Loomos, Esq., in 2002, a retired labor lawyer.
Not much has changed with regard to filling out Form 300 as required under the General Duty clause since this article was written by my dad except that OSHA has made it much easier to report work-related musculoskeletal disorders and injuries through their web site.
Prior to 2017, a paper log of Injuries and Illness was required to be kept; now, the Log of Injuries and Illness or Form 300 can be filled out easily on line.
The Code of Federal Regulations is a codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the Executive Departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles, which are divided into chapters, which are further divided into parts covering specific regulatory areas.
The general and permanent rules of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) are published under Title 29 of the Code. Those regulations specifically relating to the Recording and Reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses are found under Part 1904, Section .12, .29, .31, .32, . 33, .35, .36, .40, .41 and .42. These sections of Part 1904 are summarized for your convenience and are intended to assist you and your company in property satisfying OSHA’s strict recording and reporting criteria of these particular sections of 29 CFR 1904.
29 CFR 1904.12
Section .12 relates to the recording criteria for cases involving a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (“MSD”). An employer is required to record any MSD in the OSHA 300 Log under the MSD column.
A recordable MSD can be a disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, or spinal discs that have not been caused by slips, trips, falls, motor vehicle accidents or similar type accidents.
Examples of work-related MSD’s include carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff syndrome, DeQuervain’s disease, trigger finger, tarsal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, epicondylitis, tendonitis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, carpet layer’s knee, herniated spinal disc, and low back pain.
The above provisions take effect on January 1, 2003. For work-related MSD’s that occurred prior to this date, see recording requirements applicable for any injury or illness under Section 1904.5, Section 1904.6, Section 1904.7 and Section 1904.29.
29 CFR 1904.29
This Section stresses the fact that you must use OSHA Forms 300, 300-A, and 301 or their equivalent, whenever a recordable injury or illness is involved. Form 300 is the Log recording work-related injuries and illnesses. Form 300-A is a Summary of work-related injuries and illness reported on Form 300 and Form 301 is the Injury and Illness Incident Report.
Each recordable injury or illness must be entered on OSHA Forms 300 and 301 within seven calendar days following receipt of information that a recordable injury or illness has occurred.
You must complete a Form 301 Incident Report, or an equivalent form for each recordable injury or illness entered on Form 300.
Note: An equivalent form must be one that records the same information as OSHA Forms 300 and 301, is as readable and understandable, and follows the same instructions, as do the OSHA forms that they replace.
You are allowed to keep records in a computer if the computer is able to produce forms equivalent to the OSHA forms when they are needed. For further information see Section 1904.35 and Section 1904.40.
If a “privacy concern case” is involved you may not enter the employee’s name on Form 300; instead, enter “privacy case” in the space normally used for the employee’s name. However, a separate, confidential list of the case numbers and the employee’s names must be maintained so that these cases can be updated and information concerning them provided to the government upon request. Note, however, MSD’s are not considered to be “privacy concern cases.”
The complete list of injuries and illnesses considered to be “private concern cases” for Section 1904 purposes includes (a) an injury or illness involving an intimate body part or the reproductive system, (b) a mental illness, (c) and HIV infection, Hepatitis, or tuberculosis or (d) needle-stick injuries and cuts from sharp objects that are contaminated with other person’s blood or other potentially infectious material.
29 CFR 1904.31
You must record on Form 300 the work-related illnesses and injuries of employees on your payroll, regardless of whether they are laborers, executives, or paid hourly or are salaried, part time, seasonal or migrant workers. You must also record the work-related injuries of employees not on your payroll if you supervise them on a day-to-day basis. This group of employees includes workers obtained from a temporary employment service or supplied by a contractor who are supervised by you or your staff on a daily basis rather than by the company or service providing you with the employees.
29 CFR 1904.32
At the end of the calendar year, you are required to –
29 CFR 1904.33
Form 300 (the log), the privacy case list (if one exists), the Annual Summary and Form 301 must be retained for five years following the calendar year covered by these forms.
29 CFR 1904.35
This section requires you to involve your employees and their representatives in the record-keeping system in the following way:
Any employee, former employee or personal representative requesting a copy of Form 301 (Incident Report) describing an injury or illness to that employee or former employee must honor this request no later than the end of the next business day.
29 CFR 1904.36
This section prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee who has reported a work-related fatality, injury or illness. It also protects an employee who files a safety and health complaint. This protection also applies to an employee who files a safety and health complaint, asks for access to its Part 1904 records, or otherwise exercises any other rights afforded by OSHA.
29 CFR 1904.40
This section requires the company or the corporation to provide authorized government representatives with copies of records required by Part 1904 within four business hours following their request. Those government representatives authorized to receive these records are representatives of the Secretary of Labor conducting an investigation under the Act, a representative of the Secretary of Health and Human Services conducting an investigation under section 20(b) of the Act, or a representative of a state agency responsible for administering a State plan approved under Section 18 of the Act.
29 CFR 1904.41
This section requires any employer receiving OSHA’s annual survey form to complete it and send it to either OSHA or a designee of OSHA. This report requires the employer to provide the following information:
29 CFR 1904.42
Any employer receiving a Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illness Form from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), or a BLS designee, must promptly complete the form and return it to sender following the instructions contained on the survey form.
If you desire more information concerning the above sections please log on to http://www.osha.gov.
Ergonomics is the science of fitting jobs to people, including anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Ergonomic design is the application of this body of knowledge to the design of the workplace (i.e., work tasks, equipment, environment) for safe and efficient use by workers.
Up to 85 percent of the population will suffer from musculoskeletal pain. When workers sit incorrectly, specifically in a posture that is not ergonomically correct for the individual, they can experience musculoskeletal pain. Because musculoskeletal pain is a major source of suffering, health care, and utilization of compensation, there is a definite need for prevention (2).
A large number of people suffer from musculoskeletal pain, making it a leading health-care problem. . .Musculoskeletal pain is a leading cause of health-care visits, particularly in primary care, sick absenteeism, and early pensions. . .Thus preventing disability and high-cost cases may result in large economic savings (2).
Until prevention is granted more resources, programs need to be relatively cheap; and this suggests incorporating them into existing practice routines (2).
A host of ergonomic factors have been found to be associated with musculoskeletal pain, such as lifting, heavy work, twisting, bending, manual handling, and repetitive work.
Studies have shown that people with herniated inter-vertebral discs often have a history of an activity or occupation involving repetitive forward bending. Forward bending has been clearly recognized as a risk factor for low back pain (3).
The body posture of sedentary workers, especially in offices, and of school children has long been a concern of orthopedists and physiologists. The increasing number of office positions, of seated factory workers, of people sitting in cars and airplanes, even of seated soldiers, has augmented the concern about “unhealthful” sitting postures. Complaints about lower back pains are widespread among people who commonly work in the sitting position (4).
As a result of this very common pain and suffering, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has created a standard, 29 CFR Part 1910, which was first published on February 8, 2000, to explain the benefits of prevention of musculoskeletal disorders to both employers and employees.
OSHA expects its workable, practical approach to prevent an average of 460,000 injuries annually and to save businesses $9.1 billion annually because of reduced workplace injuries and greater productivity, with a $27,700 savings in direct costs for each musculoskeletal disorder prevented (1).
OSHA estimates that the cost to an employer to implement the new ergonomics approach will be an average of $250 per work station per year, or a total of $4.5 billion to industry per year. This contrasts with business and industry groups that estimate it will cost U.S. businesses between $18 billion and $120 billion per year (1).
OSHA’s suggestions are as follows:
If you don’t minimize risk factors that can lead to chronic musculoskeletal pain, you may laugh now; but you will be crying later if you end up wth a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) that could have been prevented.
Ergonomic risk factors that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders and pain include: Repetition, force, awkward postures, static postures, contact stress, motion of body segments (shear), compression and vibrations.
We reviewed medical studies dating back to the 1880’s implicating poor ergonomics in the development of musculoskeletal pain.
Pain that is believed to be caused by poor ergonomics could be caused by some other medical condition. If you are experiencing pain, the earlier you seek treatment, the better. Self-diagnosis can prove to be very dangerous. The information on this web site is not a substitute for professional medical advise and should not be used for self-diagnosis.
WHAT ARE MSDs?
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are also known as Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs) which are also known as Repetitive Motion Disorders (RMDs).
Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) are injuries of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibration, mechanical compression (pressing against hard surfaces), or sustained or awkward positions.
Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) are also called repetitive motion disorders (RMDs), overuse syndromes, regional musculoskeletal disorders, repetitive motion injuries, or repetitive strain injuries
“Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – a compression of the median nerve in the wrist that may be caused by swelling and irritation of tendons and tendon sheaths.
“Tendinitis – An inflammation (swelling) or irritation of a tendon. It develops when the tendon is repeatedly tensed from overuse or unaccustomed use of the hand, wrist, arm, or shoulder.
“Tenosynovitis – An inflammation (swelling) or irritation of a tendon sheath associated with extreme flexion and extension of the wrist.
“Low Back Disorders – These include pulled or strained muscles, ligaments, tendons, or ruptured disks. They may be caused by cumulative effects of faulty body mechanics, poor posture, and/or improper lifting techniques.
“Synovitis – An inflammation (swelling) or irritation of a synovial lining (joint lining).
“DeQuervain’s Disease – A type of synovitis that involves the base of the thumb.
“Bursitis – An inflammation (swelling) or irritation of the connective tissue surrounding a joint, usually of the shoulder.
“Epicondylitis – Elbow pain associated with extreme rotation of the forearm and bending of the wrist. The condition is also called tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow.
“Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – a compression of nerves and blood vessels between the first rib, clavicle (collar bone), and accompanying muscles as they leave the thorax (chest) and enter the shoulder.”
“Cervical Radiculopathy – A compression of the nerve roots in the neck.
“Ulnar Nerve Entrapment – A compression of the ulnar nerve in the wrist.”
PEOSH (1997) further states: “These disorders can also be aggravated by medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, multiple myeloma, thyroid disorders, amyloid disease and pregnancy.”
Following is a list of symptoms of MSDs, CTDs, or RMDs, which may involve the back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, or fingers:
A coalition of business groups and other employers sued the state of Washington over new ergonomic rules designed to protect workers from injury. (1)
“This is clearly a case of a state agency abusing its power and pushing through a rule based on political agendas,” said Tom McCabe, president of the Building Industry Association of Washington. (1)
“Musculoskeletal disorders are believed to be a major cause of time lost from work and long-term disability. Payments for Workers’ Compensation claims for these disorders have risen rapidly.” (5)
“Because musculoskeletal pain is a major source of suffering, healthcare and utilization of compensation, there is a definite need for prevention.” (2)
“Research on risk factors indicates that although medical and workplace factors are obvious, psychosocial variables are central to the transition from acute to chronic pain. The early identification of ‘at risk’ patients is a key to allocating resources and initiating secondary prevention.” (2)
“If only we could prevent disability due to chronic pain from occurring, tremendous suffering and monumental costs would be saved. . .Yet, while disability consumes huge amounts of resources, only a small fraction of the amount of these sums is available to prevent chronic pain problems.” (2)
State officials contend the regulations are long overdue and could prevent thousands of injuries per year. The labor and industries department has no plans to rescind or revise the regulations, Director Gary Moore said.
One study done in April of 1969 by the Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Aerospace Medical Division, Air Force Systems Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, states:
“The body posture of sedentary workers, especially in offices, and of school children has long been a concern of orthopedists and physiologists. The increasing number of office positions, of seated factory workers, of people sitting in cars and airplanes, even of seated soldiers, has augmented the concern about ‘unhealthful’ sitting postures. Complaints about lower back pains are widespread among people who commonly work in the sitting position. Medical treatment of ailments thought to be connected with the sitting posture, sick leave taken by employees, and reduced work output highlight some of the economic aspects.” (3)
Businesses in industries that report the highest number of injuries must take steps to lower the risks by buying new equipment, repositioning existing equipment, and providing training on how to avoid injury (OSHA).
Major employer groups say the rules will cost them $725 million a year. The lawsuit also challenges the effectiveness of the ergonomic techniques spelled out in the rules. (1)
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration expects its workable, practical approach to prevent an average of 460,000 injuries annually and to save businesses $9.1 billion annually because of reduced workplace injuries and greater productivity; with a $27,700 savings in direct costs for each MSD prevented . . .90 percent of American workers are covered by the new OSHA regulation. (4)
FYI: Ergonomic regulations were passed during the Clinton Administration; but President Bush and Congress repealed them shortly thereafter.
Eugene Scalia, the Labor Department’s top lawyer, has called the regulations “quackery” and “junk science.”
According to Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer: “The most important question – how we can protect workers from these crippling injuries – is not even being asked.”
At a forum addressing workplace safety in July, 2001, Labor Secretary Chao stated: “We can choose to do one of two things starting today. . .We can play politics, or we can protect workers. We can engage in sideshows, or we can pursue safety.”
“Business Groups Sue Washington State, Say New Ergonomics Rules Place Burden on Employers,” written by Paul Queary.
“Prevention of Disability Due to Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain,” written by Steven James Linton.
“Ergonomics in the Design of Office Furniture,” written by E. H. Eberhard Kroemer, Dr. Ing., Joan C. Robinette, Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
“Is there Light at the End of the Carpal Tunnel?” written by Ann W. DeVoe, Esq., CBA Report.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine 19:87-107 (1991), “Workplace Ergonomic Factors and the Development of Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck and Upper Limbs: A Meta-analysis,” written by Susan Stock, M.D.