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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 9, 1996

Linda Ballas
Linda Ballas & Associates
4413 Copper Creek Lane
Toledo, Ohio 43615

Dear Ms. Ballas:

Thank you for your letter dated August 26, requesting an interpretation regarding the proper recording of cases involving work related stress for OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping purposes. Whenever possible, I will reference the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses by stating the appropriate page and Q&A numbers.

A case involving stress is usually classified as an illness because it is caused by a non-instantaneous event or exposure. All work related illnesses are recordable. Therefore, if it seems likely that an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the stress, the case should be recorded (page 32, B-17).

The Act says that the employer is responsible for keeping the records. Recordable injuries and illnesses must be entered on the Log as early as practicable but no later than six workdays after the employer receives information that a case has occurred (page 48, B-5). If the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a private contractor and does not share information with the employer that a recordable case has occurred, the employer is not held responsible for recording the case. However, if the EAP is staffed by company employees, when staff of the EAP receive information that an OSHA recordable case has occurred, it is considered that the employer has received this information and the case must be recorded.

Please be aware that a significant amount of comments addressing this issue have been submitted to the Docket for our proposed revision to the recordkeeping requirements. We will be more clearly addressing this issue as we develop the final rule. 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