The following are selected excerpts from the preamble to the Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements, the Recordkeeping rule (66 FR 5916, 29 CFR Parts 1904 and 1952). These excerpts represent some of the key discussions related to the final rule (66 FR 6122, 29 CFR Parts 1904 and 1952).
Section 1904.5 Determination of work-relatedness
This section of the final rule sets out the requirements employers must follow in determining whether a given injury or illness is work-related. Paragraph 1904.5(a) states that an injury or illness must be considered work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to the injury or illness or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. It stipulates that, for OSHA recordkeeping purposes, work relationship is presumed for such injuries and illnesses unless an exception listed in paragraph 1904.5(b)(2) specifically applies.
Implementation requirements are set forth in paragraph (b) of the final rule. Paragraph (b)(1) defines "work environment" for recordkeeping purposes and makes clear that the work environment includes the physical locations where employees are working as well as the equipment and materials used by the employee to perform work.
Paragraph (b)(2) lists the exceptions to the presumption of work-relatedness permitted by the final rule; cases meeting the conditions of any of the listed exceptions are not considered work-related and are therefore not recordable in the OSHA recordkeeping system.
Section 8(c)(2) of the OSH Act directs the Secretary to issue regulations requiring employers to record "work-related" injuries and illnesses. It is implicit in this wording that there must be a causal connection between the employment and the injury or illness before the case is recordable. For most types of industrial accidents involving traumatic injuries, such as amputations, fractures, burns and electrocutions, a causal connection is easily determined because the injury arises from forces, equipment, activities, or conditions inherent in the employment environment. Thus, there is general agreement that when an employee is struck by or caught in moving machinery, or is crushed in a construction cave-in, the case is work-related. It is also accepted that a variety of illnesses are associated with exposure to toxic substances, such as lead and cadmium, used in industrial processes. Accordingly, there is little question that cases of lead or cadmium poisoning are work-related if the employee is exposed to these substances at work.
On the other hand, a number of injuries and illnesses that occur, or manifest themselves, at work are caused by a combination of occupational factors, such as performing job-related bending and lifting motions, and factors personal to the employee, such as the effects of a pre-existing medical condition. In many such cases, it is likely that occupational factors have played a tangible role in causing the injury or illness, but one that cannot be readily quantified as "significant" or "predominant" in comparison with the personal factors involved.
Injuries and illnesses also occur at work that do not have a clear connection to a specific work activity, condition, or substance that is peculiar to the employment environment. For example, an employee may trip for no apparent reason while walking across a level factory floor; be sexually assaulted by a co-worker; or be injured accidentally as a result of an act of violence perpetrated by one co-worker against a third party. In these and similar cases, the employee's job-related tasks or exposures did not create or contribute to the risk that such an injury would occur. Instead, a causal connection is established by the fact that the injury would not have occurred but for the conditions and obligations of employment that placed the employee in the position in which he or she was injured or made ill.
The final rule's test for work-relationship and its similarity to the former and proposed rules. -- The final rule requires that employers consider an injury or illness to be "work-related" if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, unless an exception in Section 1904.5(b)(2) specifically applies.
Under paragraph 1904.5(b)(1), the "work environment" means "the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work."...
Who Makes the Determination?
...OSHA has concluded that requiring employers to rely on a health care professional for the determination of the work-relatedness of occupational injuries and illnesses would be burdensome, impractical, and unnecessary. Small employers, in particular, would be burdened by such a provision. Further, if the professional is not familiar with the injured worker's job duties and work environment, he or she will not have sufficient information to make a decision about the work-relatedness of the case. OSHA also does not agree that health care professional involvement is necessary in the overwhelming majority of cases. Employers have been making work-relatedness determinations for more than 20 years and have performed this responsibility well in that time. This does not mean that employers may not, if they choose, seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional to help them understand the link between workplace factors and injuries and illnesses in particular cases; it simply means that OSHA does not believe that most employers will need to avail themselves of the services of such a professional in most cases.
Accordingly, OSHA has concluded that the determination of work-relatedness is best made by the employer, as it has been in the past. Employers are in the best position to obtain the information, both from the employee and the workplace, that is necessary to make this determination. Although expert advice may occasionally be sought by employers in particularly complex cases, the final rule provides that the determination of work-relatedness ultimately rests with the employer.
The Final Rule's Exceptions to the Geographic Presumption
Paragraph 1904.5(b)(2) of the final rule contains eight exceptions to the work environment presumption that are intended to exclude from the recordkeeping system those injuries and illnesses that occur or manifest in the work environment, but have been identified by OSHA, based on its years of experience with recordkeeping, as cases that do not provide information useful to the identification of occupational injuries and illnesses and would thus tend to skew national injury and illness statistics. These eight exceptions are the only exceptions to the presumption permitted by the final rule.
(i) Injuries or illnesses will not be considered work-related if, at the time of the injury or illness, the employee was present in the work environment as a member of the general public rather than as an employee.
This exception, which is codified at paragraph 1904.5(b)(2)(i), is based on the fact that no employment relationship is in place at the time an injury or illness of this type occurs. A case exemplifying this exception would occur if an employee of a retail store patronized that store as a customer on a non-work day and was injured in a fall. This exception allows the employer not to record cases that occur outside of the employment relationship when his or her establishment is also a public place and a worker happens to be using the facility as a member of the general public. In these situations, the injury or illness has nothing to do with the employee's work or the employee's status as an employee, and it would therefore be inappropriate for the recordkeeping system to capture the case...
(ii) Injuries or illnesses will not be considered work-related if they involve symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the work environment.
OSHA's recordkeeping system is intended only to capture cases that are caused by conditions or exposures arising in the work environment. It is not designed to capture cases that have no relationship with the work environment. For this exception to apply, the work environment cannot have caused, contributed to, or significantly aggravated the injury or illness. This exception is consistent with the position followed by OSHA for many years and reiterated in the final rule: that any job-related contribution to the injury or illness makes the incident work-related, and its corollary--that any injury or illness to which work makes no actual contribution is not work-related. An example of this type of injury would be a diabetic incident that occurs while an employee is working. Because no event or exposure at work contributed in any way to the diabetic incident, the case is not recordable. This exception allows the employer to exclude cases where an employee's non-work activities are the sole cause of the injury or illness...
(iii) Injuries and illnesses will not be considered work-related if they result solely from voluntary participation in a wellness program or in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity such as blood donation, physical, flu shot, exercise classes, racquetball, or baseball.
This exception allows the employer to exclude certain injury or illness cases that are related to personal medical care, physical fitness activities and voluntary blood donations. The key words here are "solely" and "voluntary." The work environment cannot have contributed to the injury or illness in any way for this exception to apply, and participation in the wellness, fitness or recreational activities must be voluntary and not a condition of employment.
This exception allows the employer to exclude cases that are related to personal matters of exercise, recreation, medical examinations or participation in blood donation programs when they are voluntary and are not being undertaken as a condition of work. For example, if a clerical worker was injured while performing aerobics in the company gymnasium during his or her lunch hour, the case would not be work-related. On the other hand, if an employee who was assigned to manage the gymnasium was injured while teaching an aerobics class, the injury would be work-related because the employee was working at the time of the injury and the activity was not voluntary. Similarly, if an employee suffered a severe reaction to a flu shot that was administered as part of a voluntary inoculation program, the case would not be considered work-related; however, if an employee suffered a reaction to medications administered to enable the employee to travel overseas on business, or the employee had an illness reaction to a medication administered to treat a work-related injury, the case would be considered work-related...
(iv) Injuries and illnesses will not be considered work-related if they are solely the result of an employee eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption (whether bought on the premises or brought in).
An example of the application of this exception would be a case where the employee injured himself or herself by choking on a sandwich brought from home but eaten in the employer's establishment; such a case would not be considered work-related under this exception. On the other hand, if the employee was injured by a trip or fall hazard present in the employer's lunchroom, the case would be considered work-related. In addition, a note to the exception makes clear that if an employee becomes ill as a result of ingesting food contaminated by workplace contaminants such as lead, or contracts food poisoning from food items provided by the employer, the case would be considered work-related. As a result, if an employee contracts food poisoning from a sandwich brought from home or purchased in the company cafeteria and must take time off to recover, the case is not considered work related. On the other hand, if an employee contracts food poisoning from a meal provided by the employer at a business meeting or company function and takes time off to recover, the case would be considered work related. Food provided or supplied by the employer does not include food purchased by the employee from the company cafeteria, but does include food purchased by the employer from the company cafeteria for business meetings or other company functions.
(v) Injuries and illnesses will not be considered work-related if they are solely the result of employees doing personal tasks (unrelated to their employment) at the establishment outside of their assigned working hours.
This exception, which responds to inquiries received over the years, allows employers limited flexibility to exclude from the recordkeeping system situations where the employee is using the employer's establishment for purely personal reasons during his or her off-shift time. For example, if an employee were using a meeting room at the employer's establishment outside of his or her assigned working hours to hold a meeting for a civic group to which he or she belonged, and slipped and fell in the hallway, the injury would not be considered work-related. On the other hand, if the employee were at the employer's establishment outside his or her assigned working hours to attend a company business meeting or a company training session, such a slip or fall would be work-related.
(vi) Injuries and illnesses will not be considered work-related if they are solely the result of personal grooming, self-medication for a non-work-related condition, or are intentionally self-inflicted.
This exception allows the employer to exclude from the Log cases related to personal hygiene, self-administered medications and intentional self-inflicted injuries, such as attempted suicide. For example, a burn injury from a hair dryer used at work to dry the employee's hair would not be work-related. Similarly, a negative reaction to a medication brought from home to treat a non-work condition would not be considered a work-related illness, even though it first manifested at work.
(vii) Injuries will not be considered work-related if they are caused by motor vehicle accidents occurring in company parking lots or on company access roads while employees are commuting to or from work.
This exception allows the employer to exclude cases where an employee is injured in a motor vehicle accident while commuting from work to home or from home to work or while on a personal errand. For example, if an employee was injured in a car accident while arriving at work or while leaving the company's property at the end of the day, or while driving on his or her lunch hour to run an errand, the case would not be considered work-related. On the other hand, if an employee was injured in a car accident while leaving the property to purchase supplies for the employer, the case would be work-related. Some injuries and illnesses that occur in company parking lots are clearly caused by work conditions or activities -- e.g., being struck by a car while painting parking space indicators on the pavement of the lot, slipping on ice permitted to accumulate in the lot by the employer -- and by their nature point to conditions that could be corrected to improve workplace safety and health.
(viii) Common colds and flu will not be considered work-related.
Paragraph 1904.5(b)(2)(viii) allows the employer to exclude cases of common cold or flu, even if contracted while the employee was at work. However, in the case of other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and hepatitis C, employers must evaluate reports of such illnesses for work relationship, just as they would any other type of injury or illness.
(ix) Mental illness will not be considered work-related unless the employee voluntarily provides the employer with an opinion from a physician or other licensed health care professional with appropriate training and experience (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, etc.) stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work-related.
Recording work-related mental illnesses involves several unique issues, including the difficulty of detecting, diagnosing and verifying mental illnesses; and the sensitivity and privacy concerns raised by mental illnesses. Therefore, the final rule requires employers to record only those mental illnesses verified by a health care professional with appropriate training and experience in the treatment of mental illness, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or psychiatric nurse practitioner. The employer is under no obligation to seek out information on mental illnesses from its employees, and employers are required to consider mental illness cases only when an employee voluntarily presents the employer with an opinion from the health care professional that the employee has a mental illness and that it is work related. In the event that the employer does not believe the reported mental illness is work-related, the employer may refer the case to a physician or other licensed health care professional for a second opinion. OSHA also emphasizes that work-related mental illnesses, like other illnesses, must be recorded only when they meet the severity criteria outlined in Section 1904.7. In addition, for mental illnesses, the employee's identity must be protected by omitting the employee's name from the OSHA 300 Log and instead entering "privacy concern case" as required by Section 1904.29.
Proposed Exception... The Case Results Solely From Normal Body Movements, not Job-Related Motions or Contribution from the Work Environment.
...OSHA has decided not to include a recordkeeping exception for injuries or illnesses associated with normal body movements in the final rule...Further, the final rule already makes clear that injuries and illnesses that result solely from non-work causes are not considered work-related and therefore are excluded from the Log, and establishes the requirements employers must follow to determine work-relationship for an injury or illness when it is unclear whether the precipitating event occurred in the workplace or elsewhere (see paragraph 1904.5(b)(3)). According to the requirements in that section, the employer must evaluate the employee's work duties and the work environment to decide whether it is more likely than not that events or exposures in the work environment either caused or contributed to the condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition. If so, the case is work-related.
Additional Exceptions Suggested by Commenters but Not Adopted [in the final rule].
...Acts of God:... OSHA has not adopted such an exception because doing so would not be in keeping with the geographic presumption underpinning this final rule, and would exclude cases that are in fact work-related. For example, if a worker was injured in a flood while at work, the case would be work-related, even though the flood could be considered an act of God. Accordingly, if workplace injuries and illnesses result from these events, they must be entered into the records (for a more detailed discussion of this point, see the Legal Authority section, above).
Phobias:... OSHA has not included an exception from recording in the final recordkeeping regulation for phobias or any other type of mental illness. Voluntary participation in a medical activity. OSHA also believes that it would be unreasonable to omit a case of loss of consciousness resulting from the administration of a blood test for lead exposure at work. These tests are necessitated by the employee's exposure to lead at work and are required by OSHA's lead standard (29 CFR 1910.1025). The other scenarios presented by these commenters, involving spiders, snakes, etc., would also be work-related under the geographic presumption.
Illegal activities and horseplay:... OSHA has not adopted any of these recommended exceptions in the final recordkeeping rule because excluding these injuries and illnesses would be inconsistent with OSHA's longstanding reliance on the geographic presumption to establish work-relatedness. Furthermore, the Agency believes that many of the working conditions pointed to in these comments involve occupational factors, such as the effectiveness of disciplinary policies and supervision. Thus, recording such incidents may serve to alert both the employer and employees to workplace safety and health issues.
Non-occupational degenerative conditions:... such as high blood pressure, arthritis, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and cancer that can develop regardless of workplace exposure. OSHA has not added such an exception to the rule, but the Agency believes that the fact that the rule expects employers confronted with such cases to make a determination about the extent to which, if at all, work contributed to the observed condition will provide direction about how to determine the work-relatedness of such cases. For example, if work contributes to the illness in some way, then it is work-related and must be evaluated for its recordability. On the other hand, if the case is wholly caused by non-work factors, then it is not work-related and will not be recorded in the OSHA records.
Determining Whether the Precipitating Event or Exposure Occurred in the Work Environment or Elsewhere
Paragraph 1904.5(b)(3) of the final rule provides guidance on applying the geographic presumption when it is not clear whether the event or exposure that precipitated the injury or illness occurred in the work environment or elsewhere. If an employee reports pain and swelling in a joint but cannot say whether the symptoms first arose during work or during recreational activities at home, it may be difficult for the employer to decide whether the case is work-related. The same problem arises when an employee reports symptoms of a contagious disease that affects the public at large, such as a staphylococcus infection ("staph" infection) or Lyme disease, and the workplace is only one possible source of the infection. In these situations, the employer must examine the employee's work duties and environment to determine whether it is more likely than not that one or more events or exposures at work caused or contributed to the condition. If the employer determines that it is unlikely that the precipitating event or exposure occurred in the work environment, the employer would not record the case. In the staph infection example given above, the employer would consider the case work-related, for example, if another employee with whom the newly infected employee had contact at work had been out with a staph infection. In the Lyme disease example, the employer would determine the case to be work-related if, for example, the employee was a groundskeeper with regular exposure to outdoor conditions likely to result in contact with deer ticks.
In applying paragraph 1904.5(b)(3), the question employers must answer is whether the precipitating event or exposure occurred in the work environment. If an event, such as a fall, an awkward motion or lift, an assault, or an instance of horseplay, occurs at work, the geographic presumption applies and the case is work-related unless it otherwise falls within an exception. Thus, if an employee trips while walking across a level factory floor, the resulting injury is considered work-related under the geographic presumption because the precipitating event -- the tripping accident -- occurred in the workplace. The case is work-related even if the employer cannot determine why the employee tripped, or whether any particular workplace hazard caused the accident to occur. However, if the employee reports an injury at work but cannot say whether it resulted from an event that occurred at work or at home, as in the example of the swollen joint, the employer might determine that the case is not work-related because the employee's work duties were unlikely to have caused, contributed to, or significantly aggravated such an injury.
Significant Workplace Aggravation of a Pre-existing Condition
In paragraph 1904.5(b)(4), the final rule...requires that the amount of aggravation of the injury or illness that work contributes must be "significant," i.e., non-minor, before work-relatedness is established. The preexisting injury or illness must be one caused entirely by non-occupational factors...
OSHA agrees that non-work-related injuries and illnesses should not be recorded on the OSHA Log. To ensure that non-work-related cases are not entered on the Log, paragraph 1904.5(b)(2)(ii) requires employers to consider as non-work-related any injury or illness that "involves signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the work environment."
The Agency also believes that preexisting injury or illness cases that have been aggravated by events or exposures in the work environment represent cases that should be recorded on the Log, because work has clearly worsened the injury or illness. OSHA is concerned, however, that there are some cases where work-related aggravation affects the preexisting case only in a minor way, i.e., in a way that does not appreciably worsen the preexisting condition, alter its nature, change the extent of the medical treatment, trigger lost time, or require job transfer. Accordingly, the final rule requires that workplace events or exposures must "significantly" aggravate a pre-existing injury or illness case before the case is presumed to be work-related. Paragraph 1904.5(a) states that an injury or illness is considered work-related if "an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness."
Paragraph 1904.5(b)(4) of the final rule defines aggravation as significant if the contribution of the aggravation at work is such that it results in tangible consequences that go beyond those that the worker would have experienced as a result of the preexisting injury or illness alone, absent the aggravating effects of the workplace. Under the final rule, a preexisting injury or illness will be considered to have been significantly aggravated, for the purposes of OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping, when an event or exposure in the work environment results in: (i) Death, providing that the preexisting injury or illness would likely not have resulted in death but for the occupational event or exposure; (ii) Loss of consciousness, providing that the preexisting injury or illness would likely not have resulted in loss of consciousness but for the occupational event or exposure; (iii) A day or days away from work or of restricted work, or a job transfer that otherwise would not have occurred but for the occupational event or exposure; or (iv) Medical treatment where no medical treatment was needed for the injury or illness before the workplace event or exposure, or a change in the course of medical treatment that was being provided before the workplace event or exposure. OSHA's decision not to require the recording of cases involving only minor aggravation of preexisting conditions is consistent with the Agency's efforts in this rulemaking to require the recording only of non-minor injuries and illnesses; for example, the final rule also no longer requires employers to record minor illnesses on the Log.
Paragraph 1904.5(b)(5) stipulates that pre-existing conditions, for recordkeeping purposes, are conditions that resulted solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the employer's work environment. Pre-existing conditions also include any injury or illness that the employee experienced while working for another employer.
Off Premises Determinations
...In the final rule, (paragraph 1904.5(b)(1)) the same concept is carried forward in the definition of the work environment, which defines the environment as including the establishment and any other location where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment.
Thus, when employees are working or conducting other tasks in the interest of their employer but at a location away from the employer's establishment, the work-relatedness of an injury or illness that arises is subject to the same decision making process that would occur if the case had occurred at the establishment itself. The case is work-related if one or more events or exposures in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition, as stated in paragraph 1904.5(a). In addition, the exceptions for determining work relationship at paragraph 1904.5(b)(2) and the requirements at paragraph 1904.5(b)(3) apply equally to cases that occur at or away from the establishment.
As an example, the work-environment presumption clearly applies to the case of a delivery driver who experiences an injury to his or her back while loading boxes and transporting them into a building. The worker is engaged in a work activity and the injury resulted from an event -- loading/unloading -- occurring in the work environment. Similarly, if an employee is injured in an automobile accident while running errands for the company or traveling to make a speech on behalf of the company, the employee is present at the scene as a condition of employment, and any resulting injury would be work-related.
Employees on Travel Status
The final rule continues (at Section 1904.5(b)(6)) OSHA's longstanding practice of treating injuries and illnesses that occur to an employee on travel status as work-related if, at the time of the injury or illness, the employee was engaged in work activities "in the interest of the employer." Examples of such activities include travel to and from customer contacts, conducting job tasks, and entertaining or being entertained if the activity is conducted at the direction of the employer.
The final rule contains three exceptions for travel-status situations. The rule describes situations in which injuries or illnesses sustained by traveling employees are not considered work-related for OSHA recordkeeping purposes and therefore do not have to be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log. First, when a traveling employee checks into a hotel, motel, or other temporary residence, he or she is considered to have established a "home away from home." At this time, the status of the employee is the same as that of an employee working at an establishment who leaves work and is essentially "at home." Injuries and illnesses that occur at home are generally not considered work related. However, just as an employer may sometimes be required to record an injury or illness occurring to an employee working in his or her home, the employer is required to record an injury or illness occurring to an employee who is working in his or her hotel room (see the discussion of working at home, below).
Second, if an employee has established a "home away from home" and is reporting to a fixed worksite each day, the employer does not consider injuries or illnesses work-related if they occur while the employee is commuting between the temporary residence and the job location. These cases are parallel to those involving employees commuting to and from work when they are at their home location, and do not have to be recorded, just as injuries and illnesses that occur during normal commuting are not required to be recorded.
Third, the employer is not required to consider an injury or illness to be work-related if it occurs while the employee is on a personal detour from the route of business travel. This exception allows the employer to exclude injuries and illnesses that occur when the worker has taken a side trip for personal reasons while on a business trip, such as a vacation or sight-seeing excursion, to visit relatives, or for some other personal purpose...
OSHA has decided not to limit the recording of occupational injuries and illnesses to those cases that are preventable, fall within the employer's control, or are covered by the employer's safety and health program. The issue is not whether the conditions could have, or should have, been prevented or whether they were controllable, but simply whether they are occupational,i.e., are related to work. This is true regardless of whether the employee is injured while on travel or while present at the employer's workplace. An employee who is injured in an automobile accident or killed in an airline crash while traveling for the company has clearly experienced a work-related injury that is rightfully included in the OSHA injury and illness records and the Nation's occupational injury and illness statistics...
...[T]he Agency believes that employees who are engaged in management, sales, customer service and similar jobs must often entertain clients, and that doing so is a business activity that requires the employee to work at the direction of the employer while conducting such tasks. If the employee is injured or becomes ill while engaged in such work, the injury or illness is work-related and should be recorded if it meets one or more of the other criteria (death, medical treatment, etc.). Gastroenteritis, for example...is one type of injury or illness that may occur in this situation, but employees are also injured in accidents while transporting clients to business-related events at the direction of the employer or by other events or exposures arising in the work environment.
On the other hand, not all injuries and illnesses sustained in the course of business-related entertainment are reportable. To be recordable, the entertainment activity must be one that the employee engages in at the direction of the employer. Business-related entertainment activities that are undertaken voluntarily by an employee in the exercise of his or her discretion are not covered by the rule. For example, if an employee attending a professional conference at the direction of the employer goes out for an evening of entertainment with friends, some of whom happen to be clients or customers, any injury or illness resulting from the entertainment activities would not be recordable. In this case, the employee was socializing after work, not entertaining at the direction of the employer. Similarly, the fact that an employee joins a private club or organization, perhaps to "network" or make business contacts, does not make any injury that occurs there work-related...
...OSHA notes that the recordkeeping regulation does not apply to travel outside the United States because the OSH Act applies only to the confines of the United States (29 U.S.C. Section 652(4)) and not to foreign operations. Therefore, the OSHA recordkeeping regulation does not apply to non-U.S. operations, and injuries or illnesses that may occur to a worker traveling outside the United States need not be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log.
Working at Home
The final rule also includes provisions at Section 1904.5(b)(7) for determining the work-relatedness of injuries and illnesses that may arise when employees are working at home. When an employee is working on company business in his or her home and reports an injury or illness to his or her employer, and the employee's work activities caused or contributed to the injury or illness, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury, the case is considered work-related and must be further evaluated to determine whether it meets the recording criteria. If the injury or illness is related to non-work activities or to the general home environment, the case is not considered work-related.
The final rule includes examples to illustrate how employers are required to record injuries and illnesses occurring at home. If an employee drops a box of work documents and injures his or her foot, the case would be considered work-related. If an employee's fingernail was punctured and became infected by a needle from a sewing machine used to perform garment work at home, the injury would be considered work-related. If an employee was injured because he or she tripped on the family dog while rushing to answer a work phone call, the case would not be considered work-related. If an employee working at home is electrocuted because of faulty home wiring, the injury would not be considered work-related...
...Injuries and illnesses occurring while the employee is working for pay or compensation at home should be treated like injuries and illnesses sustained by employees while traveling on business. The relevant question is whether or not the injury or illness is work-related, not whether there is some element of employer control. The mere recording of these injuries and illnesses as work-related cases does not place the employer in the role of insuring the safety of the home environment...
...OSHA has recently issued a compliance directive (CPL 2-0.125)...That document clarifies that OSHA will not conduct inspections of home offices and does not hold employers liable for employees' home offices. The compliance directive also notes that employers required by the recordkeeping rule to keep records "will continue to be responsible for keeping such records, regardless of whether the injuries occur in the factory, in a home office, or elsewhere, as long as they are work-related, and meet the recordability criteria of 29 CFR Part 1904."
With more employees working at home under various telecommuting and flexible workplace arrangements, OSHA believes that it is important to record injuries and illnesses attributable to work tasks performed at home. If these cases are not recorded, the Nation's injury and illness statistics could be skewed. For example, placing such an exclusion in the final rule would make it difficult to determine if a decline in the overall number or rate of occupational injuries and illnesses is attributable to a trend toward working at home or to a change in the Nation's actual injury and illness experience. Further, excluding these work-related injuries and illnesses from the recordkeeping system could potentially obscure previously unidentified causal connections between events or exposures in the work environment and these incidents.