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 http://www.osha.gov.
February 23, 1995
Mr. Jeff Reynolds
Pacific Supply Division Safety Office
1166 North Emerald Avenue
Modesta, California 85351-1560
Dear Mr. Reynolds:
Thank you for your letter dated January 3, requesting clarification in determining restricted work activity for OSHA injury and illness recordkeepng purposes. Your letter was forwarded to us from the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Statistics & Research. The OSHA Office of Statistics is responsible for administering the OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping system nationwide.
The concept of restricted work is based on three criteria as follows:
1. The employee was assigned to another job on a temporary basis, or
2. the employee worked at a permanent job less than full time, or
3. the employee worked at his or her permanently assigned job but could not perform all the duties normally connected with it.
The OSHA definition of "employee's normal job duties" has been interpreted to include any tasks that the employee performs or may be expected to perform throughout the calendar year. Thus, any and all expected job duties should be considered when evaluating restricted work activity.
As outlined in criteria number 3 above, if the employee is unable to perform all of his or her normal job duties, the case is considered to involve restricted work activity. It is irrelevant that the injured worker is able to perform
If the worker has restricted motion yet is able to perform all of hisor her normal job duties, the case should not be considered to involve restricted work activity. However, the case may be recordable under the medical treatment criteria as a non-lost workday case. The use of casts, splints or orthopedic devices designed to immobilize a body part are considered medical treatment for OSHA recordkeeping purposes. Wraps or non-constraining devices such as wristlets or elastic bandages are generally considered first aid treatment.
OSHA is in the process of revising its injury and illness recordkeeping requirements. We anticipate publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register later this year. Your letter is timely because we are considering multiple changes to the recordkeeping system, including specific changes to the definition of restricted work activity. We look forward to any comments or suggestions that safety and health professionals, such as yourself, will have to offer at that time.
I hope you find this information useful. If you have further questions please contact us at Area Code (202) 219-6463.
Bob Whitmore, Chief
Division of Recordkeeping Requirements