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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

June 21, 1993

Mr. Jerry A. Carter
20 Pinewood Lane
Belleville, Illinois 62221

Dear Mr. Carter:

Thank you for your letter dated June 1, requesting an interpretation for recording disputed injury and illness cases on the OSHA Log. I will refer to the enclosed Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses by stating page and Q&A numbers when appropriate.

For OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping purposes, injuries and illnesses that result from an event or exposure on the employer's premises are presumed to be work related (page 32, Section C(1). Furthermore, when no identifiable event or exposure can be attributed to an employee's injury or illness, if it seems likely that an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the case, the case is to be considered work related (page 32, B-17).

Section B. on pages 25 and 26 of the Guidelines states that the employers have the ultimate responsibility for making recordkeeping determinations. Those decisions are not to be made arbitrarily. If an employer doubts the validity of an employee's alleged injury or illness and there is no substantive or medical evidence supporting the allegation, the employer need not record the case. Questionable cases should be recorded on the Log and lined out at a later date if they are found not to be recordable.

It is not necessary to have a medical authority (R.N. or M.D.) make OSHA recordkeeping decisions. However, when a medical opinion does exist, OSHA considers that opinion to be authoritative. If there are conflicting medical opinions, an employer is to use good-faith in deciding which opinion is more valid.

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any further questions, please contact my staff at Area Code (202) 219-6463.


Stephen A. Newell
Office of Statistics