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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

December 9, 1996

Richard Berkes
Manager of Safety & Health
Southwark Metal Manufacturing Co.
1600 Washington Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19146-3097

Dear Mr. Berkes:

Thank you for your letter dated November 6, requesting an interpretation regarding the recordability of a work related injury. Decisions made for OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping purposes are not based on hindsight, but must be based on what actually occurred. When an employer has conflicting medical information regarding the diagnosis and corresponding treatment of an injury or illness, he/she must evaluate the case based upon what actually happened. Because the employee's personal physician issued the prescription of Fiorcet for the employee's condition, the case must be recorded based on the fact that the employee received medical treatment.

Furthermore, in your description of the incident, you stated that the employee was offered medical treatment which was declined at that time. For OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping purposes, a work related injury is recordable if medical treatment is provided or should have been provided. If a medical professional offered medical treatment to the employee, it makes the case recordable. It is irrelevant that the employee refused the medical treatment. The case should be recorded.

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