Frequently Asked Questions for OSHA's Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule for Federal Agencies

This document provides general guidance about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) injury and illness recordkeeping rule under 29 CFR Part 1904, specifically as it pertains to Federal Executive Branch agencies. In November 2004, OSHA issued a final rule amending the basic program elements at 29 CFR Part 1960, Subpart I, to make the Federal sector's injury and illness recordkeeping requirements essentially identical to the private sector. For additional guidance on the recording and reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses under Part 1904, Federal agencies should consult OSHA's Recordkeeping web page at

General Guidance

  • Question 1. Which Federal agencies are affected by the new recordkeeping requirements under 29 CFR Part 1904?

    The rule applies to all Federal agencies of the Executive Branch that are subject to Executive Order 12196, but it does not apply to military personnel and uniquely military equipment, systems and operations.

    Question 2. Why did OSHA change the injury and illness recordkeeping requirements?

    OSHA revised the recordkeeping requirements to collect better information about the incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses, to improve employee awareness and involvement in the recording and reporting of job-related injuries and illnesses, and to permit increased use of computers and telecommunications technology.

    Question 3. What recordkeeping actions took place when the new requirements became effective on January 1, 2005?

    A number of actions took place on January 1, 2005, including the following:

    Three new recordkeeping forms came into use:

    • OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
    • OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (The 300 and 300A forms replace the former OSHA Form 200, Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, and the OSHA Federal Agency Log.)
    • OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report (The 301 form replaces the former OSHA Form 101, Supplementary Record of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.)

    OSHA 2014, Recording and Reporting Guidelines for Federal Agencies (revised 1986), was withdrawn.

    All OSHA letters of interpretation regarding the old Part 1960 injury and illness recordkeeping requirements for Federal agencies were withdrawn, removed from the OSHA CD-ROM and the OSHA Internet site, and put into the OSHA Archive Set.

    Question 4. How can I get copies of the new forms?

    You may obtain copies of the new forms on OSHA's web site at or from OSHA's publications office at (202) 693-1888.

    Question 5. What if a Federal establishment started using the OSHA 300 forms prior to January 1, 2005?

    If a Federal establishment chose to maintain its injury and illness records in accordance with the Part 1904 requirements prior to January 1, 2005, that establishment will be considered to be in compliance with OSHA's recordkeeping requirements for Federal agencies.

    Question 6. Can I compare injury and illness rates generated from my OSHA Form 300 and the Part 1904 requirements with rates generated under the old Part 1960 recordkeeping requirements using Office of Workers' Compensation (OWCP) claims data?

    No. The requirements of Part 1904 change the criteria used to determine which injuries and illnesses will be entered into the OSHA records as well as how they will be entered. Therefore, you should not expect data produced under the old Part 1960 recordkeeping requirements to compare with data produced under Part 1904.

    Question 7.Why are Federal agencies required to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses?

    The OSH Act of 1970 requires the Secretary of Labor to produce regulations that require employers to keep records of occupational deaths, injuries, and illnesses. Executive Order 12196 requires Federal establishments to, "Operate an occupational safety and health management information system, which shall include the maintenance of such records as the Secretary may require."

    The records are used for several purposes. Employers and employees use the records to implement safety and health programs at individual workplaces. Analysis of the data is a widely recognized method for discovering workplace safety and health problems and tracking progress in solving those problems. OSHA uses the injury and illness statistics to help direct its programs and measure its own performance. Also, individuals conducting safety and health evaluations and inspections use the data to help direct their efforts to the hazards that are hurting workers.

    Question 8. Does recording an injury or illness establish an employer-employee relationship between the employer and the injured party, or create an entitlement to workers' compensation?

    No. The "Purpose" section of the rule, CFR 1960.66, contains a "note" making it clear that recording or reporting a work-related injury, illness, or fatality does not constitute an admission that the Federal agency or an individual was at fault or otherwise responsible for purposes of liability. Such recording or reporting does not constitute an admission of the existence of an employer-employee relationship between the individual recording the injury and the injured individual. Recording or reporting any such injury, illness, or fatality does not mean that an OSHA rule has been violated or that the individual in question is eligible for workers' compensation or any other benefits.

    Question 9. If I record an injury or illness on the OSHA 300 Log, do I still have to file a report with the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP)?

    The process for determining whether a report must be filed with OWCP must be evaluated separately from the OSHA recordkeeping process. The purpose of the new rule is to establish an injury and illness reporting and recording system that provides adequate information for the management of safety and health programs. The Part 1904 regulation does not diminish or modify in any way a Federal agency's responsibilities to report or record injuries and illnesses as required by OWCP under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), 5 U.S.C. § 8101 et seq.

Recording Criteria

  • Question 10. The old rule required the recording of all incidents where a form CA-1, CA-2 or CA-6 was filed with OWCP. Does this requirement still apply?

    No. Under the new rule, recording injuries and illnesses for OSHA purposes is determined by the Part 1904 requirements, and has no bearing on whether a workers' compensation form is filed with OWCP. The OSHA and OWCP criteria are evaluated independently, and the respective systems are maintained separately.

    Question 11. May Federal agencies attach missing information to their accident investigation or workers' compensation forms to make them an acceptable substitute for the OSHA Form 301 for recordkeeping purposes?

    Yes. An agency may use a workers' compensation form or other form that does not contain all the OSHA-required information, provided that the form is supplemented to contain the missing information, is readable and understandable, and is completed using the same instructions as the OSHA form it replaces.

    NOTE: Federal workers' compensation forms are covered under the Privacy Act and, therefore, much of the information is protected. Before using these forms for OSHA recordkeeping purposes, all information that is not specifically required on one of the OSHA 300 forms must be deleted.

    Question 12. Do I have to follow these rules if my State has an OSHA-approved State Plan?

    Yes. States with OSHA-approved State Plans do not have jurisdiction over Federal workers.

    Question 13. What is the definition of "establishment" for Federal agencies?

    The term establishment means a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or operations are performed. Where distinctly separate activities are performed at a single physical location, each activity shall be treated as a separate establishment. Typically, an establishment as used in this part refers to a field activity, regional office, area office, installation, or facility. See, 29 CFR Part 1960.2(h).