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April 22, 2010
Mr. James Goodwyne
Incident Management Gatekeeper
150-C North Dairy Ashford, #C-480
Houston, TX 77079
Dear Mr. Goodwyne:
Thank you for your recent letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the recordkeeping regulation contained in 29 CFR Part 1904 - Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. In an effort to provide you with prompt and accurate responses, we developed and continue to refine a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), in addition to maintaining a log of Letters of Interpretation (LOI) on the OSHA Recordkeeping website.
You specifically ask for guidance regarding the exception to work-relatedness in 1904.5(b)(2).
Scenario: An employee had an allergic reaction (food allergy) at a company provided lunch while attending a meeting. The employee was taken by ambulance to a hospital where treatment was received from a health care professional. There was no evidence of food contamination and no other employees became ill.
Response: 1904.5(b)(2)(iv) states that an injury or illness which is solely the result of an employee eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption (whether bought on the employer's premises or brought in) is not considered work-related. It further states this exception does not apply if the food is supplied by the company and the employee contracts food poisoning.
While the company supplied the lunch for a meeting, the resulting illness was from an allergic reaction and was not food poisoning. Therefore, the exception in 1904.(b)(2)(iv) applies and the case is not recordable on the OSHA Log.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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 only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence. 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.
Keith Goddard, Director
Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis