The cost of workplace injuries is more than $160 billion in the U.S. These costs are above and beyond the costs of workers compensation insurance. Together, they make up an incredible financial loss for American companies.
The OSHA 300 Log, also known as the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to track these work-related injuries. Each year, more than 4.5 million of these forms are reported to OSHA to document on-site job injuries.
Telemedicine has emerged as a way to eliminate unnecessary recordable OSHA 300 log events while cutting costs for employers and providing care for patients. Here is how telemedicine affects your OSHA 300 log as well as workers compensation claims in your business overall.
What is the OSHA Form 300?
OSHA requires three primary reporting mechanisms for workplace injury:
- Form 300 is a general reportable incident log
- Form 301 is the Injury and Illness Incident Report which documents how the event occurred
- Form 300-A is the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses which is to be posted in the workplace between February 1 to April 30th each year
The 300 form is a document for employers to record all reportable injuries or illnesses at a job site. The key word to consider in this definition is “reportable,” which encompasses any workplace incident that involves.
- Days away from work
- Restricted work or a transfer to another type of job
- Any medical treatment beyond first aid
- Loss of consciousness
- A significant industry diagnosed by a licensed healthcare professional
Section 1904.7(a) of OSHA’s recordkeeping rules requires companies to record work-based injuries or illnesses that result in medical care beyond first aid. Where companies run into a great deal of inefficiency is in their handling of an injury that needs nothing more than a band aid or an Ace bandage. While any work-related injury requires an immediate response, the majority are thankfully not serious. Far too often our efforts to be responsive costs much more than the situation warrants in the form of an OSHA reportable event.
How can an employer know the difference between an injury that requires medical treatment and OSHA reporting versus just first aid?
OSHA 300 Recordable Medical Treatment vs. First Aid
It’s difficult for an employer to find the sweet spot between overreacting to a minor injury by creating a recordable OSHA 300 event versus administering first aid that solves the issue and takes care of the employee. That’s because most companies do not have access to an always-available on-site medically trained compliance officer, which is a shame because the majority of workplace injuries are relatively minor, consisting of:
- Overexertion or muscle strain
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel
- Colliding with a stationary object
Far too often, a simple sprain or other orthopedic injury results in a trip to the emergency room simply because there is no other option. If the workforce is second shift, there may not even be an OSHA compliance officer available. Or, if the worker is in a rural area an ER may seem like the only option.
However, an ER often does not always provide the fast response we hope for, especially today when COVID-19 cases are still increasing. Many times, there is a long wait for treatment, which loses hours, tying up the worker and the person designated to ride along to the hospital. To add insult to injury, even a simple sprain ends up most often with a referral to an orthopedist, which tacks on more time, cost, and frustration for both the employee and employer.
Telemedicine is the Solution to Lessen OSHA 300 Events
Modern technology has given us an answer to the unwieldy ER-centric injury response so common today in American businesses. OrthoLive’s Remote Injury Care program links the injured worker quickly with an orthopedic specialist who can assess the injury at the job site right where it occurred. This can avoid unnecessary trips to the ER and reduce the number of OSHA recordable events.
Telemedicine has become a popular option for treatment during the COVID-19 crisis, and these same virtual visits are in use today by employers to provide immediate triage and treatment for worker injuries. It’s an important tool to allow a qualified clinician to determine whether additional care beyond first-aid is even needed.
The OrthoLive licensed and experienced care providers can provide several services that do not fall under OSHA recordable events. For example, during a virtual visit an OrthoLive provider can:
- Determine if the initial workplace injury can be self-managed
- Provide employees with the knowledge to manage any sprain or strain injuries
- Treat aches, pains, or other non-serious injuries
- Coach workers on how to avoid common musculoskeletal injuries
- Authorize return to work and offer follow-ups to assess the patient’s status
Early intervention just after the injury occurs can mean the difference between a recordable and non-recordable event. The initial healthcare encounter from the OrthoLive clinician falls under observation, evaluation, counseling, and first aid. Non-prescription medications so common during orthopedic injuries are also not recordable. Heat, ice, finger guards, temporary immobilization, preventative exercise guidance, and even preventative massage, are not OSHA events.
In the event that the injury is more severe, the OrthoLive on-call clinician can facilitate a visit to our network of specialty orthopedic practices for follow-up evaluation and treatment. Our patients have priority status in these networks so the typical wait time to see an orthopedic specialist simply doesn’t apply. If further treatment is necessary, our service provides case management through the entire healing journey as well as physical therapists that can work with the employee virtually even when they return to work.
When your employee is injured, providing them with immediate on-the-job care via the convenience of a smartphone or tablet will do more than determine the next course of action to get them the treatment they need. There is the morale boosting effect that the worker is important and valued enough to get them the care they need—fast.
OrthoLive’s Remote Injury Care telemedicine service has proven effective for employers seeking relief from the high cost and inefficiencies of workers compensation claims. One major e-commerce retailer cut their claims by 80% and saved more than $300,000 annually. These results carry across industries and are typical of the experience of our clients.
Talk with our team today about how telemedicine can have a positive impact on your OSHA 300 log.
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