Skip to main content
Business Insurance

NAICS and the OSHA Recordkeeping Rule — Do You Know Your Code?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) tracks, analyzes and collects statistical data on businesses across all industries throughout North America. Each six-digit industry code is tied to industry specific data, from economic impacts on marketing trends to workplace injury and illness reports. Make sure you know how to find your NAICS code and view the data connected to it.

What’s in a number?

Much like the population census is used to organize and crunch data on the U.S. population, the NAICS gathers information to study the trends and health of each business area. As the data has grown, so have the uses. NAICS data is now used for marketing, industry benchmarking and setting safety regulations.

How to find your NAICS code

You can find your NAICS code on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website by searching industry keywords or drilling down the classification list to the industry subclassification that best fits your business.

Once you know your code, find out what it means in relation to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) injury and illness recordkeeping requirements.

OSHA recordkeeping and your NAICS code

OSHA uses NAICS classifications to determine whether an industry is covered by or partially exempt from the recordkeeping rule. Different recordkeeping rules may apply, depending on your NAICS code. 

  • If your NAICS code is listed on the OSHA website as a covered (nonexempt) industry, you are required to maintain regular OSHA injury and illness records.
  • If your NAICS code is listed on the OSHA website as a partially exempt industry, you are not required to maintain regular OSHA injury and illness records. 

Regardless of NAICS or recordkeeping exemptions:

  • All businesses must report any workplace incident resulting in an employee fatality, in-patient hospitalization, loss of an eye or amputation.
  • If the government has given you written notice that you must maintain regular OSHA injury and illness records, you must follow the recordkeeping rules. 

OSHA provides some guidance on its website if you need help determining your NAICS code.

How the NAICS is organized

The NAICS code is the anchor to which census data on businesses throughout North America is tethered. According to the Census Bureau, the NAICS is organized by sector, subsector, group, NAICS industry and national industry. Industries are classified from the top down, into smaller and smaller buckets. For example:

Sector (2-digit code): 71 – Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Subsector (3-digit code): 713 – Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries

Industry Group (4-digit code): 7139 – Other Amusement and Recreation Industries

NAICS Industry (5-digit code): 71391 – Golf Courses and Country Clubs

National Industry (6-digit code): 713910 – Golf Courses and Country Clubs 

The NAICS reviews and modifies its classification system every five years to respond to emerging industries and reclassify or retire obsolete industries.

Your NAICS code is determined by the type of business you normally do

Normally, your business is classified by one code, even if your business involves many types of job activities. As you can imagine, assigning multiple codes for a single business could confuse the intent of the NAICS (to collect industry data for a deeper relational understanding of each industry). When determining your classification, use the sector that applies to the type of business you normally engage in. Golf and country clubs, for example, offer many activities and perform many job functions. Regardless, these activities and functions take place under the primary business classification of golf and country club, with a single code assigned.

Different NAICS, different OSHA recordkeeping requirements? It depends

If you own multiple businesses that engage in substantially different types of work, each business will have its own NAICS code. The two businesses could have different OSHA recordkeeping rule statuses as well. For example, one business may be a landscaping company (NAICS 561730, nonexempt), while the other is a florist shop (NAICS 453110, exempt).

However, if you have multiple business locations under one business entity structure (such as a main office and warehouse location), the OSHA recordkeeping rule may cover both locations. This would require you to maintain regular recordkeeping at the warehouse and the office, even though an office would not normally be covered by the recordkeeping rule.

Talk to an attorney regarding the structure of your business entities. OSHA also has a hotline if you need clarification on reporting requirements or your NAICS code.

NAICS code uses beyond the OSHA recordkeeping rule

OSHA workplace injury and illness data is publicly available online. OSHA tracks this data to identify high risk industries and trending workplace safety issues. The data also helps OSHA decide whether to revise regulations, which industries to audit and how to improve trainings. 

The NAICS can be an interesting tool in your arsenal of statistical research and reporting. Now that you have your NAICS code, check it out and see what’s happening in your industry.