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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.
|This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within the original correspondence.|
June 23, 2003
Ms. Donna Majewski
Great Lakes Chemical Corporation
1801 Highway 52 Northwest
P.O. Box 2200
West Lafayette, IN 47996-2200
Dear Ms. Majewski;
Thank you for your May 8 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding OSHA's recordkeeping regulation, 29 CFR 1904, and the recordability of a specific case. We have outlined the case you described below and provided our response.
Scenario: A macaque monkey bites an employee working in a research lab. Monkeys can be naturally infected with Cercopithecine Herpes Virus 1, also known as "B virus." Protocol for responding to a monkey bite requires examination by a physician. At the physician's discretion, based primarily on the health of the employee, an anti-viral treatment may be initiated as a prophylactic treatment against B virus prior to determining whether or not the animal is a carrier or shedding the virus. In this case, anti-viral treatment is initiated prior to obtaining test results. The employee receives no other care that would meet the OSHA recordkeeping definition of medical treatment.
Question: If the monkey is later examined and the oral and ocular swabs and blood samples reveal that the monkey does not test positive for B virus, could the case be red-lined off the OSHA 300 Log since these test results would indicate that the anti-viral medication was not necessary?
Answer: No, it may not be red-lined. This case would be recordable. The employee experienced an injury (a monkey bite), the injury was work-related, and it met one of the general recording criteria (medical treatment beyond first aid). Immunizations or inoculations, except for tetanus immunizations that are classified as first aid (see 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(B)), are considered medical treatment when given in response to a workplace injury or illness, even if it is later determined that the injury would not have developed into an illness. It may not be red-lined or removed from the Log.
As you may be aware, the State of Indiana administers its own occupational safety and health program under a plan approved by Federal OSHA. Indiana has adopted recordkeeping regulations identical to the Federal regulations in Part 1904. The State is required to follow Federal interpretations relating to the recordability of injuries and illnesses. For more information on the Indiana program, you may contact:
Nancy Guyott, Commissioner
Indiana Department of Labor
State Office Building
402 West Washington Street, Room W195
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Health Enforcement at (202) 693-2190.
Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs