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: One of our telecommuters while working at home went to his car to retrieve work files slipped and severely twisted his ankle. The doctor instructed him to keep his feet elevated for a couple of days and he was not able to work. Is this recordable?
A: OSHA regulations, specifically section 1904.5(b)(7), provide clarity on how to 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 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, 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 a 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.
But if an employee is injured tripping on the family dog while rushing to answer a work phone call, the case is not considered work-related.
Or if an employee working at home is electrocuted because of faulty home wiring, the injury is not considered work-related.
Q: We have an employee who has been on restricted duty. Because of restructuring caused by the pandemic, she was transferred to another job where the restriction does not matter. Can I now stop the day count of restricted work activity?
A: OSHA regulations provide your answer. You count days of job transfer or restriction in the same way you count days away from work, using OSHA’s general recording standards, specifically 1904.7(b)(3)(i) to (viii).
The only difference is that, if you permanently assign the injured or ill employee to a job that has been modified or permanently changed in a manner that eliminates the routine functions the employee was restricted from performing, you may stop the day count when the modification or change is made permanent.
You must count at least one day of restricted work or job transfer for such cases.
Q: We have a new customer who is requiring us to share our OSHA Form 300 information. Are there any government restrictions regarding this?
A: From OSHA’s perspective, if you decide to voluntarily disclose the forms to persons other than government representatives, employees, former employees or authorized representatives, you must remove or hide the employees' names and other personally identifying information as required by this OSHA regulation as well as this one.
For more information, contact CBIA's Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).