- Standard Number:1904.12
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.
February 02, 2000
Linda Ballas & Associates
4413 Copper Creek Lane
Toledo, OH 43615
Dear Ms. Ballas:
Thank you for your letter dated May 28, 1999 asking for a response to the following questions. I will respond by citing the regulations from 29 CFR Part 1904 and the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (Recordkeeping Guidelines), by page and Q&A number(s), whenever possible.
Question 1: Employees are walking for exercise on company premises (on the sidewalk, along the company roadway, in the plant, in the aisles, etc.) at lunch time or break time. The places where the employees are exercising are not "employer controlled recreational facilities" as described in Q&A C-2 on page 33 of the Recordkeeping Guidelines. If an employee is injured during such activity, is it acceptable to NOT record these cases?
No. As stated on Page 32, Section C of the Recordkeeping Guidelines, "Work relationship is established under the OSHA recordkeeping system when the injury or illness results from an event or 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. When an employee is off the employer's premises, work relationship must be established; when on the premises, this relationship is presumed. The employer's premises encompass the total establishment. [Emphasis added.] This includes not only the primary facility, but also such areas as company storage facilities. In addition to physical locations, equipment or materials used in the course of an employee's work are also considered part of the employee's work environment." The general rule is that all injuries and illnesses which result from events or exposures occurring to employees on the employer's premises are presumed to be work related. As stated in Q&A C-1 on Pages 32-33, "...company restrooms, hallways, or cafeterias ....are generally all considered to be part of the employer's premises and constitute part of the work environment. Injuries occurring in the work environment are considered work related. The specific activity the employee was engaged in at the time of the injury is not the controlling factor." [Emphasis added.]
As stated in Q&A C-2 on Page 33, "For OSHA recordkeeping purposes, the definition of work premises excludes all employer controlled ball fields, tennis courts, golf courses, parks, swimming pools, gyms, and other similar recreational facilities which are often apart from the workplace and used by employees on a voluntary basis for their own benefit, primarily during off-work hours. Therefore, injuries to employees in these recreational facilities are not recordable unless the employee was engaged in some work-related activity, or was required by the employer to participate." The examples cited in your question (e.g., "on the premises on the sidewalk, or along their roadway during lunch or break, which is also on the premises, or walking in the plant at lunch time or break time for exercise, in the aisles, etc.") do not meet the definition of recreational facility and therefore are not exempted from the on-premises presumption of work relationship. In order to meet the definition of recreational facility, a facility must be used exclusively for recreational purposes during a designated time period. Remember, too, that, as indicated in Q&A C-7 on Page 34, the determination that an event or exposure on the employer's premises is considered work related is not affected by "the nature of the activity which the employee is engaged in at the time of the event or exposure, the degree of employer control over the employee's activity, the preventability of the incident, or the concept of fault... [Emphasis added.]."
Question 2: An employee is scheduled to climb only 4 times a year and, in the past year, climbed his scheduled 4 times. The employee suffers an injury in February and is restricted from climbing for 3 days. His next scheduled climb would not be done until June. Would the 3 days still have to be counted as restricted days? Yes. Restricted work days are those days when (1) the employee was assigned to another job on a temporary basis; or (2) the employee worked at a permanent job less than full time; or (3) the employee worked at a permanently assigned job but could not perform all duties normally connected with it (Page 60, Glossary of Terms). Historically, the phrase "employee's normal job duties" has been interpreted to include any tasks that the employee performs or may be expected to perform throughout the calendar year. Whether or not the employee was scheduled to perform the duty which is restricted is not relevant in the decision making process. If the employee would be expected to perform the activity which is restricted on any single day during the year, the case must be recorded as one involving restricted work activity. If the employee is never expected to perform the activity which is restricted during any one day of the calendar year, than the case does not involve restricted work activity. (Letter of Interpretation 02/06/98 attached).
I hope you find this information useful. If you have any further questions or comments, please contact the Division of Recordkeeping Requirements at 202-693-1702.
Cheryle A. Greenaugh
Director, Directorate of Information Technology
Enclosure: Letter to Linda Ballas & Associates dated April 18, 1996
Letter to Coors Brewing Company dated 02/06/98