In an interpretation letter dated August 23, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) examined the work-relatedness of an injury that may have occurred partly due to prescription medicine unrelated to a work-related condition.
The medicine may have caused the employee to lose awareness of her surroundings. In the incident, the employee’s foot became jammed between a powered industrial truck and a pallet, causing the steel toed shoe to become bent and cut the top of her toe. This injury required four stitches.
OSHA determined that this incident met the definition of a work-related injury that required medical treatment beyond first aid, and must be recorded on the OSHA 300 form. An injury or illness is work-related if the work environment is one of the discernable causes – it need not be the only or predominant cause. An injury or illness that shows signs or symptoms at work is not work-related only if the event or exposure occurred outside of the work environment, and the injury is only due to the employee’s non-work related condition. In this case, this exception does not apply, because the injury resulted from the operation of workplace equipment.Finally, the exemption for injuries or illnesses that are solely due to self-medication for a non-work-related condition does not apply because the injury resulted partly from the operation of workplace equipment.