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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

February 25, 1999

Mr. Jerry A. Jones
Manager, Risk Management
United States Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20260

Dear Mr. Jones:

Thank you for your letter dated February 2, 1999, requesting review of PS Form 1769, Accident Report, for equivalency with the OSHA No. 101, Supplementary Record of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. Any form which contains the same information as the OSHA No. 101 may be used as a substitute form. If the alternative record does not contain all the items found on the OSHA No. 101, it may be supplemented by adding those items. In the case of the PS Form 1769, a long-hand entry in the narrative section of the form or an attachment to the form would satisfy this requirement.

The only OSHA No. 101 data field that is missing on PS Form 1769 is the employee's home address (field 5 on OSHA No. 101). If this information is added to your form, it would be considered an acceptable substitute for the OSHA No. 101. Full access to the supplementary form, whether it is the OSHA No. 101 or an equivalent, is to be given to OSHA compliance staff upon request, in accordance with 29 CFR 1904.7(a).

It should also be noted that many of the fields on PS Form 1769 contain coded entries. Examples include Item 45, Nature of Most Severe Injury, and Item 46, Part of Body Affected. Given the heavy dependence on coded information on the PS Form 1769, OSHA would expect the narrative field on the form to be completed fully and accurately to reflect the full circumstances - - as requested on the form, the who, what, when, where, why, and how - - of the accident or cause of illness.

Please note that our review of the PS Form 1769 for equivalency to the OSHA No. 101 is limited to review of the data items included on the form. It does not include review of the definitions contained in the instructions which determine what cases are entered into the forms. However, in a brief review of the definitions, we did notice there is a discrepancy between OSHA's definition of occupational illness and the definition of illness contained in the instructions of the PS Form 1769. OSHA defines an illness as any abnormal condition or disorder resulting from a non-instantaneous event or exposure. Historically, OSHA has defined non-instantaneous as anything longer than a snap of the fingers. PS Form 1769 defines an illness as ". . . any abnormal condition or disorder caused by exposure to environmental factors associated with employment over a period longer than a single workday or shift." This difference is of importance given that all occupational illnesses are to be recorded on the OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping forms, regardless of treatment rendered or time lost.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 202-693-2100.


Richard Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs