Schools Must Record Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
In response to a petition by the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an assessment of injury and illness rates in elementary and secondary schools. These schools are currently classified as “low hazard” and are exempt from OSHA injury and illness recording requirements. However, the assessment revealed that injury and illness rates of school employees are significantly higher than other “low hazard” industries. By one measure, schools’ injury and illness rates were slightly higher than the rates for nonresidential construction. In light of this information, OSHA adopted OSEA’s proposal. The new changes require schools to keep injury and illness records.
This means that beginning January 1, 2018, school districts, public charter schools, and education service districts must keep OSHA injury and illness records in accordance with OAR 437-001-0700. Specifically, schools must record any work-related event that results in: death; days away from work; restricted work or transfer to another job; medical treatment beyond first aid; significant injury or illness diagnosed by a health care professional; or loss of consciousness. Schools must also record any work-related event involving: needle-stick and sharps injuries; medical removal of an employee; occupational hearing loss; and tuberculosis. We recommend that schools carefully review the reporting requirements, develop a record-keeping system using OSHA’s forms or ensure that the current record-keeping system complies with OSHA’s recording requirements, and train staff on OSHA recording requirements at the beginning of the school year. Schools should use these injury and illness records to identify causes and trends and develop ways to prevent future injuries and illnesses. Schools must also be prepared to provide these records to government representatives quickly upon request and to submit records and summaries to OSHA each year.