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How to Complete an OSHA Incident Report Form

Employers with more than 10 employees must thoroughly record serious work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA incident report forms.

Posted by Katie Yahnke on October 8th, 2019

On any given day, approximately 14 workers die on the job. While still unnecessarily high, this statistic has dropped significantly from 38 deaths per day in 1970.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) works with more than 2000 inspectors to oversee the health and safety of more than 130 million workers in the US. OSHA’s efforts have helped significantly improve workplace safety.

OSHA requires most employers to file an OSHA incident report form whenever there has been a workplace injury or illness. These forms help with risk management by painting a clear picture of common industry hazards and workplace safety.

But there are so many forms, which one do you file? What is considered a workplace “illness” anyway? And, how long do you have to submit the form?

Read on for the answers to these questions and more.

And, download our free OSHA Incident Report Form Flowchart to help you decide whether to report that workplace injury.



Employers with more than 10 employees must thoroughly record serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Certain industries deemed “low-risk”, such as florists, retail stores and publishers, are exempt from these reporting requirements.



OSHA provides a list of recordable injuries or illnesses, which include work-related:

  • Fatalities
  • Injuries or illnesses resulting in loss of consciousness, time off work, restricted duties or transfers
  • Injuries or illnesses requiring treatment beyond basic first aid
  • Diagnosis of cancer, fractures, punctured eardrums and chronic irreversible diseases
  • Cases involving sharps injuries, medical removal, hearing loss and tuberculosis


Injuries are “work-related” if they are caused or aggravated by events or exposures in the work environment.



Employers have up to eight hours to report a workplace fatality. For amputations, eye loss or hospitalizations, they have up to 24 hours. All other incidents must be reported within seven calendar days of receiving word that an injury or illness has occurred.

As for record-keeping duties, OSHA incident report forms must be kept on-site for a minimum of five years.



Recordable work-related injuries and illnesses must be documented using the OSHA 300, 300-A and 301 forms.

The OSHA 300 form is the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. It requires details about the employer and employee, and a short description of the recordable injury. The OSHA 300-A is the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses and is filled out at the end of each year based on OSHA 300 forms.

The OSHA 301 form is the Injury and Illness Incident Report. It requires information about the employee and the physician or health care professional. The report also has room for details about the case, such as the date and time of the injury and what happened.

Employers can provide an “equivalent form” instead of the OSHA 301 incident report form. An equivalent provides all the same details, such as an insurance form.


Other Common Questions & Answers

You will likely encounter a time when an injured or ill employee ignores their physician’s suggestion for time off and comes to work anyway. When this happens, you must still fill out the OSHA incident report form. Complete the form according to the physician’s recommendation (put the advised number of calendar days off work).

Another common issue is how to decide if an injury or illness resulted in restricted duties for the employee. There are two ways to answer. Has the work-related injury or illness resulted in:

  1. you keeping the employee from performing one or more of their routine functions
  2. you keeping the employee from working their full working day
  3. a physician recommending the employee not perform one or more of their routine functions


For answers to more questions, visit Part 1904 – Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses on the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations website.

Katie Yahnke
Katie Yahnke

Marketing Writer

Katie is a former marketing writer at i-Sight. She writes on topics that range from fraud, corporate security and workplace investigations to corporate culture, ethics and compliance.

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