Updates to OSHA's Reporting and Recordkeeping Rules as They Apply to the Theatre Industry

Updates to OSHA's Reporting and Recordkeeping Rules as They Apply to the Theatre Industry

The curtain is up on OSHA recordkeeping in the performing arts industry!

By Emma Downey, COSS

On January 1, 2015, certain industries that were partially exempt from the OSHA Recordkeeping Rule were re-classified by The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  As a result of the new classifications, performing arts companies under the NAICS Code 7111 and Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) jurisdiction are no longer exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements.

Specifically, performing arts companies with more than ten (10) employees must now report any workplace incident that results in a serious injury, illness or death to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.  Companies with ten or less employees at all times (in the entire company) continue to be exempt from keeping OSHA injury and illness records, regardless of their industry classification.

Under the OSHA Recordkeeping Rule [29 CFR 1904], employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses using the Injury and Illness Incident Report (OSHA Form 301), Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA 300), and the Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A).  Employers must fill out the Log and the Incident Report only if a recordable work-related injury or illness has occurred. Employers are required to complete and post the OSHA Form 300A Summary annually, even if no recordable work-related injuries or illnesses occurred during the year.  Please note that each state has its own posting requirements in addition to the three Federal OSHA forms.  These can be found through your local OSHA office or by looking up your Individual State Plan online

These required records of incidents, work-related injuries and illnesses serve a valuable purpose.  No operation can be successful without adequate recordkeeping, which enables you to learn from past experiences and make corrections for future operations. This information is important for employers, workers and OSHA in evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards, and implementing worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards. It is recommended that records be maintained indefinitely, but not less than five (5) years.

Other recording and reporting requirements include incident investigation records and training records.  Incident investigation records must document the person(s) conducting the investigation, date of investigation, identification of the accident cause(s), corrective actions taken to prevent recurrence, and person responsible for correcting the unsafe condition. Similarly, all training records for each employee must show the employee's name, training dates, training topic or subject, and who provided training. 

In the cases of reporting fatalities or catastrophes (FAT/CATS), all employers covered by the OSH Act must report the death of any employee from a work-related incident, or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees as a result of a work-related incident within eight (8) hours.   Employers must also report any amputation, loss of an eye, or in-patient hospitalization of a worker within twenty-four (24) hours.  To make a report, call the nearest OSHA office, the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA), or report online.  Be prepared to supply your business name, names of employees affected, location and time of the incident, brief description of the incident, contact person, and phone number.

What is recordable under OSHA's Recordkeeping Regulation?

OSHA’s definition of an injury or illness is an abnormal condition or disorder [29 CFR 1904.46(3)].  Injuries include cases such as, but not limited to, a cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation.  Illnesses include both acute and chronic illnesses such as, but not limited to, a skin disease, respiratory disorder, or poisoning.  Once the incident is defined as an injury or illness, it must then be determined to be work-related [29 CFR 1904.5].  This by definition is an injury or illness resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment unless an exception specifically applies.  A case is work-related only if the cause is an event or exposure in the work environment or a significant aggravation to a pre-existing condition. 

            Performing arts employers must record all work-related  injuries and illnesses that result in death (report within 8 hours), days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job, loss of consciousness or medical treatment beyond first aid (see OSHA's definition of first aid below).  In addition, employers must record significant work-related injuries or illnesses diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional, even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.

What is Considered “First-Aid” by OSHA?

  1. Using a non-prescription medication at nonprescription strength (for medications available in both prescription and non-prescription form, a recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional to use a non-prescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes)

  2. Administering tetanus immunizations (other immunizations, such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine, are considered medical treatment)

  3. Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin

  4. Using wound coverings such as bandages, Band-Aids, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips (other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc., are considered medical treatment)

  5. Using hot or cold therapy

  6. Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes)

  7. Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.)

  8. Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister

  9. Using eye patches

  10. Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab

  11. Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means

  12. Using finger guards

  13. Massages (physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes)

  14. Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress


There are a number of exceptions that clarify work-related vs. non-work-related injuries and illnesses.  For instance, a situation in which the employee is present in the work environment as a member of the general public is considered an exception.  You can find a list of these exceptions under 29 CFR 1904.5 (b)(2) Determination of work-relatedness.  OSHA also offers Standard Interpretations, or letters detailing how a standard should be interpreted, providing further clarification for specific incidents or grey areas. The Standard Interpretations for 29 CFR 1904.5 (b)(2) can be found here.  This resource is available for each standard on its corresponding OSHA webpage, and is useful if you need clarification on a standard that has been addressed by means of a letter to OSHA and an official response. 

Recordkeeping is a critical aspect of the safety and health efforts in your performing arts company.  For more information about the updated industry codes, visit OSHA’s webpage on the updated recordkeeping rule.  Detailed guidance for OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule can be found at https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/entryfaq.html.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion and is offered as purely public resource of general information that is intended, but not guaranteed, to be correct and complete.  For most accurate information, please refer to the OSHA resources provided in this article or the OSHA website for the most up-to-date information.