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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

September 20, 1993

Mr. Neil H. Wasser
Constangy, Brooks & Smith
Suite 2400 230 Peachtree Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-1557

Dear Mr. Wasser:

Thank you for your letter dated September 2, requesting an interpretation on counting lost workdays for temporary employees who suffer occupational injuries or illnesses. We find your analysis of the situation outlined in your letter to be correct. I will reference the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses by citing the appropriate page and Q&A numbers.

On the top of page 48 of the Guidelines, lost workday cases involving days away from work are defined as cases resulting in days the employee would have worked but could not because of the job related injury or illness. Thus, termination of employment may stop the count of lost workdays if unrelated to the employee's injury or illness (Q&A B-11, page 49). Therefore, while the initial termination of the employee as outlined in your letter will not stop the day count, the eventual termination of the job itself will.

The employer should make a good faith estimate of the number of lost workdays the case will require and enter that estimate on the Log. When the employee returns to work, the estimate should be replaced with the actual number of lost workdays. (Q&A B-5, page 48). Your client should subsequently replace the estimate of lost workdays with the actual number corresponding to the lesser of either:

(1) the number of days the temporary employee's injury actually incapacitated him or her; or

(2) The number of days the employee would have worked until the end of the temporary relationship. One method of determining this number is to calculate the number of days worked by the individual(s) who replaces the temporary employee who suffered the injury.

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


Bob Whitmore Chief
Division of Recordkeeping Requirements