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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 http://www.osha.gov.
December 10, 1999
David B. Harold
Construction Safety Field Manager
Bechtel Savannah River, Inc.
Project Engineering and Construction Division
Aiken, South Carolina 29808
Dear Mr. Harold:
Thank you for your letter dated July 20, requesting that OSHA reevaluate its current position regarding the recording of injuries and illnesses which occur on the employer's premises when they result solely from participating in voluntary medical physical examination programs.
As you are aware, OSHA is in the midst of a rulemaking to revise 29 CFR Part 1904. In the proposal, the presumption that injuries and illnesses that occur on the employer's premises are work-related would be rebutted if the injury or illness results solely from the employee's voluntary participation in physicals. Finalization of OSHA's proposed revision (as proposed) would provide the relief you request. OSHA published that proposal, and accepted public comments on it. The comment period is now closed. OSHA is in the process of finalizing the revised regulation based upon the public record, and anticipates implementation of the new regulation in January 2001.
In the meantime, employers are required to comply with the existing regulation, which OSHA continues to administer. On page 32, section C of the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, it is stated: "Work relationship is established under the OSHA recordkeeping system when an injury or illness results from an exposure in the work environment. The work environment is primarily composed of (1) The employer's premises, and (2) other locations where employees are engaged in work-related activities or are present as a condition of their employment." The basis for determining work relationship for OSHA recordkeeping is that the event occurred in the work environment. The fact that the injury or illness resulted from the physical examination on the employer's premises establishes a presumption of work relationship. As stated in your letter, employers are required to record these injuries when they involve loss of consciousness, medical treatment, restricted work activity, job transfer or days away from work. If the case is evaluated as an illness, it must be recorded on the OSHA Log 200 since all work related illnesses must be recorded.
Given the above, we are unable to interpret the existing regulation to mean that all injuries and illnesses which result from voluntary physicals given on the employer's premises are non-work-related. The pending rulemaking to revise 29 CFR Part 1904 addresses the issue, and if the final version adopts the proposed language on this issue, the new regulation would provide the relief you request.
I hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Recordkeeping Requirements at (202) 693-1702.
Cheryle A. Greenaugh
Directorate of Information Technology