Identifying OSHA Recordable Incidents

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Posted in: Commercial Insurance, Compliance, Human Resources, Risk Management

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) generally requires covered employers to report workplace injuries and illnesses and prepare and maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor and is responsible for administering the recordkeeping system established by the OSH Act.

When complying with the OSHA recordkeeping rules, employers must determine which incidents to record. In some cases, this can require a detailed analysis of the situation to assess whether an incident is work-related.

This Compliance Overview includes a list of frequently asked questions and answers OSHA compiled to help employers determine whether an injury or illness is work-related and must be entered into the OSHA records.insurance, horst insurance, OSHA, recordable incidents

 

Determining Work-Relatedness

Employers must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, unless an exception applies.

Frequently asked Questions

What is the “work environment”? OSHA defines the work environment as “the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work.”

Are there situations where an injury or illness occurs in the work environment and is not considered work-related? Injuries or illnesses that occur in the work environment, but are not considered work-related, are not recordable. An injury or illness occurring in the work environment that falls under one of the following exceptions is not work-related:

How do I handle a case if it is not obvious whether the precipitating event or exposure occurred in the work environment or occurred away from work? In these situations, you must evaluate the employee’s work duties and environment to decide whether or not one or more events or exposures in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

How do I know if an event or exposure in the work environment “significantly aggravated” a pre-existing injury or illness? A pre-existing injury or illness has been significantly aggravated, for purposes of OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping, when an event or exposure in the work environment results in any of the following:

Which injuries and illnesses are considered pre-existing conditions? An injury or illness is a pre-existing condition if it resulted solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurred outside the work environment.

How do I decide whether an injury or illness is work-related if the employee is on travel status at the time the injury or illness occurs? Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is on travel status are work-related if, at the time of the injury or illness, the employee was engaged in work activities “in the interest of the employer.” Examples of such activities include travel to and from customer contacts, conducting job tasks and entertaining or being entertained to transact, discuss or promote business (work-related entertainment includes only entertainment activities being engaged in at the direction of the employer).

Injuries or illnesses that occur when the employee is on travel status do not have to be recorded if they meet one of these two exceptions:

How do I decide if a case is work-related when the employee is working at home? Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is working at home, including work in a home office, will be considered work-related if the injury or illness occurs while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of work rather than to the general home environment or setting.

For example, if an employee drops a box of work documents and injures his or her foot, the case is considered work-related. If an employee’s fingernail is punctured by a needle from a sewing machine used to perform garment work at home, becomes infected and requires medical treatment, the injury is considered work-related.

If an employee is injured because he or she trips on the family dog while rushing to answer a work phone call, the case is not considered work-related. If an employee working at home is electrocuted because of faulty home wiring, the injury is not considered work-related.