An injury or illness is work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either:
Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment. The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by the employee to perform work, unless an in 1904.5(b)(2) specifically applies. We'll discuss these exceptions shortly.
A case is presumed work-related if, and only if, an event or exposure in the work environment:
The work event or exposure need only be one of the discernible causes; it need not be the sole or predominant cause.
A preexisting injury or illness has been significantly aggravated, for purposes of OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping, when an event or exposure in the work environment results in any of the following:
OSHA believes employers can best evaluate the employee's work duties and environment to decide whether or not 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.
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. (66 FR 5946-5962, Jan. 19, 2001)
To ensure non-work-related injury/illness cases are not entered on the OSHA 300 Log, the rule 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.
An injury or illness occurring in the work environment that falls under one of the following exceptions is not work-related, and therefore is not recordable.
Click on the button to see the table that lists the exceptions.
|You are not required to record injuries and illnesses if . . .|
|(i)||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.|
|(ii)||The injury or illness 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.|
|(iii)||The injury or illness results solely from voluntary participation in a wellness program or in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity such as blood donation, physical examination, flu shot, exercise class, racquetball, or baseball.|
|(iv)||The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption (whether bought on the employer's premises or brought in). For example, if the employee is injured by choking on a sandwich while in the employer's establishment, the case would not be considered work-related.
Note: If the employee is made ill by ingesting food contaminated by workplace contaminants (such as lead), or gets food poisoning from food supplied by the employer, the case would be considered work-related.
|(v)||The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee doing personal tasks (unrelated to their employment) at the establishment outside of the employee's assigned working hours.|
|(vi)||The injury or illness is solely the result of personal grooming, self medication for a non-work-related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted.|
|(vii)||The injury or illness is caused by a motor vehicle accident and occurs on a company parking lot or company access road while the employee is commuting to or from work.|
|(viii)||The illness is the common cold or flu (Note: contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, hepatitis A, or plague are considered work-related if the employee is infected at work).|
|(ix)||The illness is a mental illness. 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.|
Work in the interest of the employer. Injuries and illnesses that occur while an employee is on travel status are 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:
Home Away From Home. When a traveling employee checks into a hotel, motel, or into another temporary residence, for one or more days, he or she establishes a "home away from home." After he or she checks in, evaluate the employee's activities for their work-relatedness in the same manner as you evaluate the activities of a non-traveling employee. For example:
Taking a Detour. Injuries or illnesses are not considered work-related if they occur while the employee takes a detour for personal reasons from a reasonably direct route of travel. For example, the employee took a side trip for personal reasons.
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 ensuring the safety of the home environment.
OSHA has issued a compliance directive (CPL 2-0.125) that 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.
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 preexisting 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. For example:
If an employee reports a condition but cannot say whether the symptoms first arose during work or during activities off work, the employer must evaluate the employee's work duties and environment to decide how to record the report. For instance:
Below are examples of work-related and non-work-related incidents:
An injury or illness is a "new case" if it meets one of the following two conditions:
For occupational illnesses where the signs or symptoms may recur or continue in the absence of a workplace exposure, record the case only once. Examples include occupational cancer, asbestosis, byssinosis and silicosis.
You are not required to seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional. If you do seek such advice, you must follow their recommendation about whether the case is a new case or a recurrence.