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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

October 17, 1995

James F. Smith
Mountain Technical Center
10100 West Ute Avenue
Post Office Box 625005
Littleton, Colorado 80162-5005

Dear Mr. Smith:

Thank you for your letter dated September 19, requesting interpretations regarding several OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping issues. Your letter was forwarded to my Office from the Directorate of Compliance Programs. The Division of Recordkeeping Requirements is responsible for the administration of the injury and illness recordkeeping system nationwide. Whenever possible, I will refer to the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses by citing the appropriate page and Q&A numbers.

Deciding if injuries and illnesses are recordable entails making decisions regarding work relationship, recognition and classification of a condition, and determination of the outcome and extent of the case. All of these decisions must be made in good faith by the employer. The decisions must be made in accordance with the requirements of the OSH Act, 29 CFR Part 1904, and the instructions found in Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and on the back of the recordkeeping forms (page 25, section B(2)). Q&A B-18 on page 32 of the Guidelines specifically refers to the existence of an injury or illness, and the appropriate supporting medical information. Determining whether a case has occurred is the first step in the recordkeeping process. The next step, covered in section C on page 32, is to determine work relationship. Information from medical, hospital, or supervisor records should be reviewed along with other pertinent information when making decisions regarding all of the aspects in evaluating injury and illness cases.

Removal of foreign bodies from a wound (other than in the eye) is considered medical treatment if the procedure is complicated because of the depth, size or location of the embedment. If the removal is by simple means, the procedure is considered first aid. For OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping purposes, use of tweezers to remove embedded objects from the skin is considered first aid (see page 43).

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


Bob Whitmore
Division of Recordkeeping Requirements