October 6, 2009
Mr. Troy Miller
Health and Safety Manager
Fraser Papers, Inc.
82 Bridge Avenue
Madawaska, ME 04756
Dear Mr. Miller:
Thank you for your August 7, 2009 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.
Scenario: An employee felt something in his eye and reported the incident to plant security. The eye was flushed and it was noted that there was a speck of foreign material in the employee's eye. The employee went to the emergency room and the treating physician removed the foreign object with a wetted swab. The physician determined that object was not on the cornea long enough to leave a scratch and thought the employee would have no symptoms of infection the following day. The physician did however issue a prescription for Gentamicin ophthalmic solution with instruction to only fill and use the prescription if the eye was not symptom free the following day.
The following day, the employee reported to work and was seen by the plant 's registered nurse who confirmed that the eye was free of infection. The prescription was not filled and the employee returned to regular work. The prescription issued was precautionary and was not needed. Must this case be recorded?
Response: The case is recordable regardless of whether the medication was given solely as a preventive measure. In the preamble to the final recordkeeping rule, OSHA specifically addressed the use of prescription antibiotics for prophylactic reasons. The agency concluded that all prescription medications should be considered medical treatment because they are powerful substances that can only be prescribed by a licensed health care professional. See 66 Fed. Reg. 5986 (January 19, 2001).
Once medical treatment beyond first aid is provided for a work-related injury or illness, or days away from work or work restriction have occurred, the case is recordable.
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 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.
Keith Goddard, Director
Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis