Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

October 18, 1995

                Directorate of Technical Support

FROM:            BOB WHITMORE 
                Office of Statistics

SUBJECT:         Control Correspondence No. 9501205

The following is the our response to the recordkeeping issues raised in the Spokane County Health District letter from Diane Nebel. Also attached is the word perfect file. If you have any questions regarding this response, please let us know.

The overall purpose of the OSHA injury and illness records is to portray the safety and health environment of the establishment to which they pertain. Therefore, injuries and illnesses which occur to employees located in a particular establishment must be recorded on the Log pertaining to that establishment.

When determining who should record work related injuries and illnesses of contract employees, the primary factor to be considered is who supervises these workers on a day-to-day basis. If contract employees are subject to the supervision of the using firm, those workers must be counted as the using firm's employees and any recordable injury or illness occurring to those workers must be entered into the using firm's OSHA records. (Q&A A-2 on page 24 of the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses). Additionally, the degree of supervision necessary to determine the employer/employee relationship is stated on page 24, Q&A A-1: "Employee status generally exists when the employer supervises not only the output, product or result to be accomplished by the person's work, but also the details, means, methods and processes by which the work objective is accomplished."

Therefore, injuries and illnesses to workers of independent contractors who are not subject to supervision by the using firm would not be recorded on the using firms records. OSHA is currently in the process of revising the injury and illness recordkeeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904). Part of this proposed revision would require comprehensive records for "subcontractor employees" in the construction industry for major construction activities. Accordingly, the proposal would require site-controlling employers (or their designees) in the construction industry to maintain a separate record reflecting the injury and illness experience of employees working for construction firms other than their own and not subject to their day-to-day supervision. Employers covered by the standard for the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals; Explosives and Blasting Agents, 29 CFR 1910.119, are currently required to keep similar records.

Under the proposal, the site-controlling employer would be required to enter the name of the injured "subcontractor employee", his or her company, date, and a brief description of the injury or illness. This separate record coupled with the site-controlling employer's own injury and illness records should reflect the injury and illness environment of the entire work site.

OSHA will invite comment on whether the requirement should be limited to the construction industry or expanded to other industries.