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's 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: Many of our employees will now work remotely on a permanent basis. Do I need to set up any particular process to inform employees on how they should report injuries or illnesses? 

A: Per OSHA Standards on employee involvement, employers must establish a reasonable procedure for employees to report work related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately.

Keep in mind that a procedure is not reasonable if it would deter or discourage a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness.

Q: Our employee was seen by a doctor for a knee strain after falling off a ladder. An X-ray revealed no serious damage, the knee was wrapped in a stretch bandage, and the employee was told to take extra strength aspirin. Would the use of extra strength medication make the case reportable?

A: OSHA’s general recording criteria requires that a work-related injury or illness that results in medical treatment beyond first aid be recorded on the OSHA 300 log.

There are some exceptions to this, including in the general recording criteria, which states that “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 healthcare professional to use a non-prescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for record keeping purposes.” 

Q: An employee hurts his or her left arm and is told by the doctor not to use the arm for one week. The employee is able to perform all of his or her routine job functions using only the right arm, although at a slower pace and the employee is never required to use both arms to perform his or her job functions. Would this be considered restricted work?

A: No. If the employee is able to perform all of their routine job functions—activities the employee regularly performs at least once per week—the case does not involve restricted work. Loss of productivity is not considered restricted work.

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