Recording of Injuries/Illnesses Under OSHA

As mentioned in our last blog, the time for covered employers to post the OSHA 300A Summary is from February 1 to April 30.  It is also a good time to revisit the issue of what kinds of injuries and illnesses should be recorded as employers sometimes struggle with this fact-sensitive question. OSHA has several sources that can assist with this determination. The OSHA recordkeeping forms themselves provide guidance on this issue. 

These forms are available at https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/osha-rkforms-winstr_fillable.pdf. In addition, several parts of the recordkeeping regulations are also set up in a question and answer format which are available at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1904/1904.7. Over the years, OSHA has also published numerous interpretations addressing different questions under Part 104 – Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. These standard interpretations can be accessed at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/standardnumber/1904

In an interpretation dated July 29, 2019, OSHA opined on a scenario where an employee lacerated the palm of his hand when sharpening a personal pocketknife sitting in a company-owned vehicle while parked on his lunch break. OSHA discussed two potential recordkeeping exceptions: 1) whether the injury occurred while the employee was a member of the general public and 2) whether the injury was solely the result of an employee doing personal tasks outside of working hours. In rejecting both exceptions, OSHA first clarified that the establishment at question was not a public place and that the exception was intended to apply if an employee was visiting a public place as a member of the general public as opposed to an employee, e.g., visiting a retail store on a day off. Second, OSHA clarified that the “personal task” exception applies only if the injury was solely a result of an employee doing personal tasks outside of the employee’s working hours. However, OSHA reiterated its position that lunch breaks are considered assigned working hours for injury and illness recordkeeping purposes. Thus, this exception also did not apply. A copy of the interpretation can be accessed at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2019-07-29. It is clear that OSHA continues to take a broad reading of the recordkeeping regulations. 

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