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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

August 3, 1993

Mr. C. T. Sullinger
Manager of OSHA Recordkeeping
Brown & Root, Inc.
Post Office Box Three
Houston, Texas 77001-0003

Dear Mr. Sullinger:

Thank you for your letter of July 19, requesting a clarification of the effect termination of employment has on the count of lost workdays for OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping purposes.

The Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses addresses the subject on page 49 in Q & A B-11. It states that the termination of employment may stop the count of lost workdays if unrelated to the employee's injury or illness. If the employee is terminated as a result of a violation of company policy (e.g. theft, misuse of company vehicle, tardiness, etc.), and the violation is in no way related to the injury or illness, than the count of lost workdays may stop at the point of termination. Please be aware that termination of employment cannot eliminate recording lost workday cases, but can only stop the count of lost time. For instance, if an employee is terminated the day of the injury, and that injury would have entailed lost workdays, the case should be entered in column 2 of the Log with at least one lost workday entered in column 4 or 5. The same applies to illness cases.

If, however, there is a connection between the violation and the injury or illness, the case must be recorded as a lost workday case and an estimate should be made of the total number of workdays that would have been lost had the employee not been terminated. For example, if an employee participating in horseplay led to the employee's injury or illness, and that same horseplay subsequently led to his/her termination, the termination should not be used to stop the lost workday count. Likewise, if an employee is tested for substance abuse as a result of an injury, tests positive, and is subsequently terminated, the termination should not be used to stop the lost workday count. In both of your scenarios we consider the violations and termination of the employee to be associated with his/her injury or illness.

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


Stephen A. Newell Director
Office of Statistics