Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

July 2, 1992

Mr. Jerry A. Carter Specialist,
Occupational Safety and Health Services
McDonnell Douglas
Post Office Box 516
Saint Louis, Missouri 63166-0516

Dear Mr. Carter:

Thank you for your letter of June 8 requesting an interpretation for properly recording lost workdays on your OSHA Log of Injuries and Illnesses.

The situation presented in your letter is best addressed in Q & A B-9 on page 49 of the enclosed copy of the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. It states "...if long-term restrictions result in permanent assignments to modified jobs, the count of days of restricted work activity ceases once the transfer or modification is made permanent." (emphasis added) Permanent job modification can only stop the count of restricted work activity, not days away from work. Therefore, days away from work should continue to be counted until the employee returns to work. Once a modified job is made available and the employee returns to work, the count of lost workdays should be stopped.

Termination of employment may stop the count of lost workdays if it is unrelated to the employee's injury or illness. If the termination is in any way connected to the injury or illness, an estimate must be made of the total number of workdays that would have been lost had the employee not been terminated. (see Q & A B-11, page 49 of the Guidelines)

I hope this information will answer your question concerning OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping requirements. If you have further questions, please contact my staff at (202) 523-1463.


Stephen A. Newell
Acting Director
Office of Statistics


June 8, 1992

U.S. Department of Labor
Francis Perkins Bldg.
Rm 3507
200 Constitution Avenue
Washington D.C., 20210

Dear Sir:

Recent incidents have raised the question of how to properly record injured employees who have permanent job restrictions who have not been accepted back to work by their supervisor. The following situation is provided for clarification.

An injured employee is returned to work with permanent work restrictions after being off work for the injury, and a permanent partial disability rating has been assigned by the attending physician. However, the employee's supervisor cannot use the employee with the assigned restrictions and the employee continues off work pending identification of a work that accommodates the restrictions. For example, an employee is injured and has lost time. The doctor returns the employee back to work but says the employee cannot lift more than thirty (30) pounds as a permanent condition. The employee is not accepted by the supervisor because he needs the employee to lift more than 30 pounds as part of the regular job. The employee continues off work until a position with less than 30 pounds lifting requirement is found, or until the employee is terminated. How should those days after the employee was cleared back to work by the doctor but not accepted by the supervisor be recorded? Do they continue as lost work days, restricted work days, or not counted at all?

Your prompt answer to this question is appreciated, and will help us in ensuring correct guidance to our OSHA Recordkeeping personnel.

JERRY A. CARTER Specialist,
Occupational Safety and Health Services
Dept 064A, Bldg 4, M/C 0012491
Telephone 314-234-5615