Volume 50, Issue 6 - June 2015


Your Top Priority
A Government Form That Actually Helps You

by Ashley Charest

The OSHA 300 and 301 forms are critical to every business in the U.S. with 10 or more employees. The 300 is a running log of each accident or covered incident, and the 301 is a detailed report on each entry on your 300 log. These forms are easy to fill out, and you don’t have to send them to anyone. So what’s the rub?

Well, some folks think anything from Washington is a waste of time. Many don’t like “big brother” watching, and some just don’t know what they really have to do. Keep reading for the real story.

First Things First

With the 300 log, you record every accident or industrial illness in your company. It takes about 30 seconds to fill it in for each occurrence. Once a year, post the log on your company bulletin board, and that fulfills your responsibility. It’s that easy.

If you ever undergo a safety inspection, for any reason, the inspector asks for this first. Without it, you will be fined. Having the 300 shows them you care about the law. But you don’t fill this out for the sake of a regulation. It lets you and the inspectors see your accidents on a single sheet of paper. Even if there are only one or two accidents a year, when you compare forms, problem areas might jump out.

The OSHA 300 form is a running log of each accident or covered incident that occurs in the workplace.

Little Details Matter

The 301 form is a one-pager detailing the information about each accident listed on the 300 form. This can lead to a preventive practice that will stop this type of accident from re-occurring.

OSHA’s job is to ensure a safe working environment for all employees. Reviewing these forms is the first step. In an inspection, the inspector often speaks privately with your workers asking about accidents. If they discover an accident that was not listed on your 300, be prepared for a fine—and you deserve it.

Listing accidents on the 300 will not increase your comp rates. You may have had a first-aid accident, or a muscle strain where a day or two at home solved the problem. But when pieced together, if you have a trend, the inspector will suggest an improvement. If there is a blatant situation, the inspector will give you a certain amount of time to fix it. If you do, the accompanying fine can be reduced. If you ignore the situation, be prepared to open your checkbook.

Yes, there are hundreds of pages of OSHA rules and regulations. I don’t know any small-business people who know them all. Running a commonsense, safe business is the key. Don’t do stupid things to cut corners. The most common cause of accidents across most glass businesses is clutter. People trip, bump into things that fall over on them, or don’t wear their safety gear and get cut from glass overhanging on dollies. Clutter costs you money in lost productivity and product misuse.

It’s hard to see this in your own business. Ask a friend to come over and take a tour of your company. You’ll learn from this.

Last thought on OSHA for today: If you have a fatality in your shop (and I hope you never do), you must contact your local OSHA office within eight hours. If you have an accident with an amputation, loss of an eye or in-patient hospitalization, you need to contact OSHA within 24 hours. Go to www.osha.gov for the contact information for your local office. You can even report this online.

the author

Paul Bieber has 37 years’ experience in the glass industry, with C.R. Laurence and as executive vice president of Floral Glass in New York. He is now the principal of Bieber Consulting Group LLC and can be reached at paulbaseball@msn.com. Read his blog on Tuesdays at http://usgpaul.usglassmag.com.

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