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: At the company picnic on a Friday, an employee sprained her ankle playing volleyball. The doctor recommended that she stay off her foot for a few days or use a crutch when moving around. On Monday, she returned to work using a crutch. Because the injury occurred at a company event, do we still have to record it because the doctor indicated she should use a crutch even though she did not miss work time?
A: The basic requirement of OSHA regulation 1904.5 is that you 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. There are specific exceptions to the recording requirement, which seems to apply here.
The injury or illness results solely from voluntary participation in a wellness program or in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity, such as blood donation, physical examination, flu shot, exercise class, racquetball, or baseball. As a result, the injury is not recordable.
Q: Our company encourages employees to get vaccinated and provides paid time off for employees to go to a local clinic to get the shot. The employee left work and on the way back from the clinic and hurt his back in a car accident. The doctor ordered rest, causing him to miss two days of work. No medication was prescribed but it was suggested he take an over the counter pain reliever if uncomfortable. Would this be recordable because it was paid company time or not recordable because he was not involved in the scope of company activities?
A: OSHA’s general recording criteria 1904.7(a) states that you must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria, and therefore to be recordable, if it results in any of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
“Medical treatment” means the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder.
In this case the use of an over the counter pain reliever at nonprescription strength is not medical treatment. It is considered “first-aid” and would not be recordable.
Q: We recently had an employee travel to our German parent company’s production facility in that country and he was injured on the factory floor. Is this recordable?
A: Section 4(a) of the OSH Act of 1970 provides that: “This Act shall apply with respect to employment performed in a workplace in a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Wake Island, Outer Continental Shelf lands defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Johnston Island, and the Canal Zone.
"The Secretary of the Interior shall, by regulation, provide for judicial enforcement of this Act by the courts established for areas in which there are no United States district courts having jurisdiction.”
Injuries and illnesses which occur while the employee is traveling in places where OSHA does not have jurisdiction do not need to be recorded on the company OSHA log.
For more information, contact CBIA's Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).