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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

June 24, 1999

Mr. Kurt Kreplin
Regional Human Resource Leader
International Paper
No. 1 IP Lane
Gurdon, Arkansas 71743

Dear Mr. Kreplin:

Thank you for your letter dated May 14, 1999, requesting an interpretation regarding the proper recording of an injury that occurred at your establishment. As discussed in Q&A B-1 on page 28 of the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, fault plays no role in the OSHA recordkeeping system. Occupational injury and illness statistics produced by such a system would not accurately reflect overall worker experience (i.e., it would be missing those cases reported for which employers are not at fault) and consequently would not satisfy the coverage requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Section 2(b)(12) of the Act states that one of its purposes is to provide for appropriate reporting procedures ". . . which will accurately describe the nature of the occupational safety and health problem." Sections 8(c)(2) and 24(a) of the act specifically define what is a recordable injury. They make no distinction between incidents that are compensable under State workers' compensation laws, incidents caused by employer neglect, incidents that are preventable, or the random incidents that seem to happen when no one is at fault.

The fact that the employee's post incident drug screen returned positive does not enter into the decision making process regarding the recordability of the case. If the work related injury entailed either medical treatment, loss of consciousness, days away from work, job transfer or restricted work activity, then it must be recorded on the OSHA Log 200.

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions, you can contact the Division of Recordkeeping Requirements at (202) 693-1702.


Cheryle Greenaugh
Directorate of Information Technology