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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

April 18, 1996

[Name Withheld]

Dear [Name Withheld]:

Thank you for your letter dated March 26, requesting information concerning the definition and determination of work related injuries and illnesses. I am enclosing a copy of the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses which contain these definitions as they relate to the OSHA recordkeeping system. I will reference the Guidelines by stating the appropriate page and Q&A numbers whenever possible.

For OSHA recordkeeping purposes, an occupational illness is defined as any abnormal condition or disorder resulting from a non-instantaneous event or exposure in the work environment. Conversely, occupational injuries result from instantaneous events or exposures. 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).

All work related deaths and illnesses must be recorded into the required OSHA records, the OSHA Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA No. 200) and the OSHA Supplementary Record (OSHA No. 101), or equivalent forms. Furthermore, all work related injuries requiring medical treatment or involving loss of consciousness, days away from work, restriction of work or motion, or transfer to another job must also be recorded in the records (see pages 42-43 of the Recordkeeping Guidelines).

Please be aware that OSHA recordkeeping requirements differ from those established under various State workers' compensation laws. Assuming that the job location where you work is under Mississippi's jurisdiction, for further information regarding Mississippi's workers' compensation laws and definitions, please contact the State of Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission, Post Office Box 5300, Jackson, Mississippi 39296-5300.

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


Stephen A. Newell
OSHA Office of Statistics