Welcome to our monthly column featuring CONN-OSHA experts answering some of the most commonly asked questions from CBIA member companies.

Most of the responses from Catherine Zinsser, a CONN-OSHA occupational safety training specialist, will be on recordkeeping since that is the focus of most questions she fields.

But if you'd like to ask her a question on another topic, please email CBIA's Phillip Montgomery.

He will treat all questions confidentially and never share any identifying company information with CONN-OSHA or anyone else.

Q: Are cases of workplace violence considered work-related under the new recordkeeping rule?

A: The recordkeeping rule contains no general exception for purposes of determining work relationship or for cases involving acts of violence in the work environment. 

However, some cases involving violent acts might be included within one of the exceptions mentioned in the recordkeeping of work-related illnesses standards, such as injuries as a result of employees doing personal tasks, self-medication or their general commute to and from work. 

Another example is if an employee arrives at work early to use a company conference room for a civic club meeting and is injured by some violent act, the case would not be a work-related incident under the exception.

Q: Does an employee report of an injury or illness establish the incident of the injury or illness for recordkeeping purposes?

A: No. In determining whether a case is recordable, an employer must first decide whether an injury or illness, as defined by the rule, has occurred. 

If the employer is uncertain about whether an injury or illness has occurred, the employer may refer the employee to a doctor or other health care professional for evaluation and may consider the healthcare professional's opinion in determining whether an injury or illness exists. 

It is important to note that if a doctor or other licensed health care professional diagnoses a significant injury or illness, and the employer determines that the case is work-related, the case must be recorded.

Q: If I had one work-related accident but two employees were injured, does this get recorded as one or two cases on the OSHA log?

A: It depends on the extent of the injuries. OSHA's recordkeeping system tracks work-related recordable injuries and illnesses. 

If both injuries meet general recording criteria, both cases should be recorded in the log as two separate cases. 

Under Section 1904.7, a case should be considered if a doctor or licensed health care professional diagnoses it as a significant injury. A case should also be recorded if it results in death, days away from work, restricted work, a transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness. 

Injuries in Sections 1904.8 through Section 1904.11 include needle stick and cuts from sharp objects, hearing loss, and tuberculosis.

For more information, contact CBIA's Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).