Editor's Note: Clearing up the ‘gray areas’

Of the things I may be known for, gracefulness is not one of them. As a child I learned to clean and dress my own cuts and scrapes simply because they happened so frequently I didn’t want to bother my mother with them. A couple of my fingers are so crooked from being broken/sprained/jammed during my more athletic days that to look at them you’d think I was a wide receiver in the NFL.

Happily, I’ve never come close to experiencing anything at work that could be considered a recordable injury. Working at the National Safety Council has played no small part in this. As I’ve written about before, the council in recent years has put a great deal of effort into re-energizing its safety program. This has included constant reinforcement to encourage employee reporting of injuries, near misses and hazards. Another major step has been the implementation of an online system for employee submission of reports, which has made the supervisor’s part of the process extremely easy.

But my time spent working on a magazine about occupational safety and health has made me aware that at a higher level, when a recordable injury occurs and safety professionals must update their employer’s OSHA 300 log, the process can becoming confusing. Results from past Safety+Health informal polls about under-recording indicate that although some respondents find the matter simple, many more do not, with the phrase “gray areas” appearing several times. The fact that OSHA’s Recordkeeping Standard typically hovers just outside OSHA’s “Top 10” list of most cited violations gives credence to this.

This month, Senior Associate Editor Kyle W. Morrison explores the Recordkeeping Standard – and some common mistakes safety professionals make – in an effort to help clear up some of those gray areas. As one of the experts Kyle interviews states, accurate recordkeeping is “an indicator of where they’ve been and where they’re going to go if they don’t do something about it.”

The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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