One of your employees is injured on the job.
While your first priority is to ensure your employee receives the appropriate care, you’re also thinking… OSHA.
“Do I need to report this injury on my OSHA 300 Log?”
If you’re asking this question, you’re not the only one.
We get this question all the time.
And when we do, we turn to the OSHA compliance overview.
OSHA’s compliance overview includes a list of common questions that OSHA has compiled to help employers like you determine whether or not the incident is work-related and if it should be reported on your OSHA 300 log.
What’s considered a work-related injury?
OSHA considers an injury or illness 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 1904.5(b)(2) specifically applies.” (www.osha.gov)
What is the work environment?
OSHA defines the work environment as “...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 the equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work.”
Are there situations where an injury or illness occurs in the workplace, but is not considered work-related?
If an injury or illness occurs at your workplace, but is not considered work-related, then it does not need to be reported on your OSHA 300 log.
In other words, it is not a recordable incident.
Here’s a few examples of injuries or illnesses that happen in the workplace that would NOT be considered work-related:
- The employee was at the workplace as a member of the general public at the time of the injury or illness.
- The employee exhibits signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that happened outside of the workplace.
- The employee voluntarily participated in a wellness program or a medical, fitness or recreational activity such as blood donation, physical examination, flu shot, exercise class, 5K, etc.
- The employee becomes injured or ill due to personal tasks (unrelated to his/her employment) at the workplace outside of the employee’s assigned working hours.
- The employee becomes injured or ill from personal grooming or self-medication for non-work-related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted.
- The employee is injured by an auto accident in the company parking lot or on a company access road while commuting to or from work.
Still unsure whether or not the incident is an OSHA recordable?
To determine if the incident is an OSHA recordable, evaluate your employee’s work responsibilities and the environment in which the incident occurred.
If one or more events or exposures in the workplace either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition then the incident would be considered an OSHA recordable.
How do I know if an event or exposure in the workplace “significantly aggravated” a pre-existing injury or illness?
A pre-existing injury or illness can be considered “significantly aggravated,” for purposes of OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping, when an event or exposure in the workplace results in any of the following that otherwise would not have occurred but for the occupational event or exposure:
- Loss of consciousness
- One or more days away from work, days of restricted work or days of job transfer
- Medical treatment
How do I know which injuries and illnesses are considered “pre-existing conditions?”
If an injury or illness resulted solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurred outside the work environment, then it’s considered a pre-existing condition.
What happens if my employee is on travel status at the time that the injury or illness occurs?
If the employee is engaged in work activities “in the interest of the employer” while on travel status, then the incident would be considered work-related.
Examples of these activities include travel to and from customer contacts, conducting job tasks and entertaining or being entertained to transact, discuss or promote business (work-related entertainment.)
Work related injuries and illnesses that happen while an employee is on travel status do NOT have to be recorded if they meet one of these two exceptions:
- When a traveling employee checks into a hotel, motel or other temporary residence and establishes a “home away from home.” Employers must evaluate the employee’s activities after they check in to determine work-relatedness in the same manner as an employer evaluate activities of a non-traveling employee. When an employee checks-in to a temporary residence, he/she is considered to have left the workplace. When the employee begins each work day, he/she re-enters the workplace. If the employee has established a “home away from home” and is reporting to a fixed worksite each day, injuries and illnesses are not considered work-related if they occur while commuting to and from the temporary residence and job location.
- Injuries and illnesses are not considered work-related if they occur while the employee is on a personal detour from a reasonably direct route of travel.
How do I determine if a case is work-related when an employee is working from home?
If your employee is working from home, an incident is considered work-related if the injury or illness occurs while the employee is performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and the injury or illness is directly related to the performance of work.
For example, if your employee drops a box of work documents and injures his/her foot, the case is considered work-related.
If your employee is injured because he/she trips over the family dog while rushing to answer a phone call for work, this is NOT considered work-related.
You aren’t the only one asking these questions about what’s considered an OSHA recordable or not.
But it’s an important component of maintaining your compliance with OSHA, and keeping accurate data on your OSHA 300 Log that reflects the work-related injuries and illnesses that occur at your company.
You know the importance of providing a safe and healthy workplace for your employees, and you prioritize that.
But accidents happen.
With the right safety policies and procedures in place, in addition to detailed processes around how to handle an incident - you demonstrate to your company and your employees that workplace safety is important to your company culture.
We’ve created a tool for companies like you to determine whether or not their incident is an OSHA recordable. If you’re still unsure, click here to access our Recordable Incident Advisor OSHA 300 Report.
My name is Dani Kimble and I work here at The O’Neill Group, a risk management and insurance firm in Northeast Ohio.
In addition to providing you with every type of insurance you could ever possibly need :), we also go beyond insurance to educate our clients and our communities on compliance, risk management and overall, protection.
We have a number of tools and resources to help your company stay in compliance with OSHA. To learn more, call me at (330) 334-1561 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was adapted from Zywave. This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.