Two Interpretations of OSHA’s Recordkeeping Requirements

OSHA has released two interpretation letters on recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) posted two interpretation letters regarding its recordkeeping and reporting requirements. One clarifies whether or not an employer must report the loss of a fingertip, and the other clarifies when self-treatment may become medical treatment beyond first aid and require the employer to record an injury as a work-related injury.

In the first letter, an employee lost the tip of his finger in a workplace event, and a physician classified the injury as an avulsion. OSHA does not classify avulsions as amputations that must be reported to OSHA. Employers should rely on a health care professional’s diagnosis.

If a health care professional’s diagnosis is not available, OSHA instructs employers to refer to the definition and examples of amputation in 29 CFR 1904.39. Examples of avulsions that do not need to be reported are deglovings, scalpings, fingernail and toenail avulsions, eyelid avulsions, tooth avulsions, and severed ears.

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In the second letter, dated April 14, 2016, an employer inquired about a situation in which a worker experienced wrist pains after working at a computer for most of the day. Prior to visiting the occupational health clinic, the employee purchased and used a rigid wrist brace. During the visit to the clinic, the doctor stated that while the brace was not necessary, if the employee felt he was getting pain relief through the use of the brace, he should continue to wear it.

OSHA does not generally consider self-treatment or self-medication as medical treatment beyond first aid for recordkeeping purposes. However, once the doctor recommended that the employee continue to wear the brace if it alleviated the pain, the injury was deemed to involve medical treatment beyond first aid, and must be recorded as a work-related injury.

Sources :

OSHA letter of interpretation, Recordkeeping Regulation contained in 29 CFR Part 1904[1904.39(b)(11)], dated May 25, 2016

OSHA letter of interpretation, Recordkeeping Regulation contained in 29 CFR Part 1904[1904.0007(b)(5)(ii)(F)], dated April 14, 2016

 

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