- Standard Number:
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.
December 22, 1995
Mr. Shane G. Phillips
Charles Craft, Inc.
Post Office Box 98
Hamer, South Carolina 29547
Dear Mr. Phillips:
This is in response to your letter dated November 10, requesting an interpretation regarding the recordability of a particular injury case. Wherever possible I will refer to the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses by stating the appropriate page and Q&A numbers.
Work relationship is established under the OSHA recordkeeping system when an injury or illness results from an event or exposure in the work environment. The general rule is that all injuries and illnesses which result from events or exposures on the employer's premises are presumed to be work related. Furthermore, if it seems likely that an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the case, the case is considered work related. It is sufficient for an exposure to only be a contributing and/or aggravating factor to establish work relationship for OSHA recordkeeping purposes. (Q&A C-7 on page 34, Q&A B-17 on page 32, and Q&A E-6 on page 40)
The presumption of work relatedness is rebuttable if the worker is on the employer's premises as a member of the general public or if the employee's symptoms are the result of a non-work related event or exposure off premises and merely surface on the employer's premises (see Q&A C-8, on page 34 of the Guidelines). As described in your letter, the symptoms experienced by your employee arose while she was working and are therefore presumed to be work related.
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)). 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.
If the employer feels absolutely certain that the employee was able to perform work activity, and restricted work was available, the employer may count the days as days of restricted work activity. The case should be well documented as to why days away are not being counted. If, however, the employer has any doubt as to the employee's ability to perform the restricted work activity, the days should be counted as days away from work. (page 26, B-2) Due to the fact that you were unaware of any claim of work relatedness until the employee returned to work on September 1, and as a consequence were unable to assign the employee restricted work activity, you may count August 30 and 31 as days of restricted work activity rather than as days away from work.
I hope you find this information useful. If you have any further questions, please contact us at Area Code (202) 219-6463.
Division of Recordkeeping Requirements