- Standard Number:
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.
March 6, 2000
David B. Harold
Construction Safety Field Manager
Bechtel Savannah River, Inc.
Project Engineering and
Aiken, South Carolina 29808
Dear Mr. Harold:
Thank you for your letter dated December 14, requesting clarification regarding the recording requirements of injuries as they apply to employer efforts to avoid radioactive contamination of minor wounds. In answering your request, I will cite the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses by page and Q&A number whenever possible.
On occasion, we have employees who suffer a small scratch or abrasion that requires first aid treatment only, and due to our site-specific medical policies, they are temporarily denied access to radiological controlled areas. The specific injuries in question do not inhibit the employees' ability to perform all their normal duties during any part of a normal workday (including the day of injury). These subject cases also represent employees who are capable of performing all of their normal work duties without any physical or mental limitations. When an employee is temporarily denied access to radiological controlled areas, they are simply assigned to perform all of their regular or same work duties in non-radiological work locations. Are these cases recordable on the OSHA 200 log?
No, these cases are not recordable. The concept of restricted work activity and transfer/rotation to another job hinges upon the employee's ability to perform all of his or her normal job duties for all of the normal work shift. (See Q&A B-15, B-17, B-19, page 50 of the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses). If an employee is able to perform all normal work duties during all normal workdays (including the day of injury), then the case does not involve restriction of work or motion and would not meet the criteria for a recordable case. Thus, if an employee is denied access to the radiological areas (while he or she is fully able to perform all of his or her normal job duties for all of the normal work shift) as an effort to protect the employee from potential radioactive contamination, the case does not meet the recording criteria.
However, when an injury does involve job restriction or modification, OSHA presumes that the modification resulted from the employee's inability to perform all or any part of his or her normal job duties for all of the normal work shift. Medical evidence that the employee was able to perform all of his or her normal job duties for all of the normal work shift must be presented to rebut this presumption. For example, an employer may rebut this presumption with a written medical opinion that the employee was fully able to perform all normal work duties during all normal workdays.
29 CFR Part 1904.12 (c) provides three severity categories of recordable cases: Fatalities, lost workday cases (i.e. case involving days away from work and/or restricted work activity), and cases without lost workdays. Lost workday cases are considered the most serious nonfatal injuries and illnesses because the injured or ill employee is unable to perform work at full capacity. For this reason it is important to base the recording determination on the employee's physical ability to perform the work rather than on an administrative decision to bar the employee from entering the radioactive area as a preventative measure. The small scratch or abrasion described in your scenario does not meet the intent of the severity of a lost workday case classification.
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