Injury & Crime Reporting in the Workplace

Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.

Most people work in a safe workplace but getting hurt on the job or being the victim of a crime happens. When an issue arises, there are procedures an employee should follow to report such incidents.

Safety in the Workplace

Adele was rushing around to get her work done at the machine shop before the long weekend when suddenly she slipped on a slick and broke her leg. Adele knew the machine near where she was working was leaking oil. In fact, she reported it to her supervisor several times that very day. But nothing was ever done about it. As she lay on the floor waiting for aid, she thought, 'What should I do? Who do I call? How do I report this?'

These are all good questions. Adele should consult the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) for answers. OSHA requires that employers provide a safe working environment for every employee. There are two sets of rules. Federal laws cover all employees except independent contractors and families of farm workers. But there are several states that adopted their own OSHA policies. For states that do not operate under a state OSHA policy, federal rules apply.

OSHA states that the workplace must be free of hazards that can cause injury. Employers who violate OSHA safety standards risk fines. The hazards must be something that the employer knows or should know about. Since Adele reported the leaky machine prior to her fall, her employer was aware that there was a potentially hazardous condition on the machine shop floor. She has cause to report this injury.

How to Report a Workplace Injury

OSHA states that any workplace injury or illness that ends in the following are considered reportable:

  • Death
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Missed work
  • Restricted activities
  • Medical treatment that is more serious that requires more than simple first aid

Since Adele broke a bone, she will require more than simple first aid. The company would document this fall on the OSHA Form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries where every illness or injury should be logged. This is where a brief description of the injury or illness is recorded along with other information like employee name, date of injury and days missed from work. This log is maintained by the company and used to report injuries and illnesses to OSHA on a yearly basis.

Within seven days of the incident, the OSHA Form 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report must also be completed. This is an extremely detailed form that asks many questions about the incident including:

  • Employee information including name, address and date of birth
  • Physician or Healthcare Provider information
  • Case information including Form 300 Case Log Number and other details about the actual incident

The form must be kept in the employer's possession for five years following the year of the actual incident. Bear in mind that many companies have their specific injury reporting procedures. Our lesson focused on OSHA's stand of reporting. Reporting a workplace crime works differently.

Reporting Workplace Violence

OSHA has a provision that requires employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment. But sometimes it is beyond the control of an employer. Workplace violence is either the threat of violence or actual violence against a co-worker.

Shockingly, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that as many as two million employees are the victims of workplace violence every year. For this reason alone, workplace violence should always be taken seriously. A disgruntled employee may seek retaliation for being terminated and return to the workplace with a gun. This is a potentially violent situation that may put many people at imminent risk.

Violence does not have to end in murder. It can be:

  • Bullying
  • Physical abuse
  • Stalking
  • Fist shaking
  • Intimidating other employees
  • Verbal abuse

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