OSHA Part 2

This is part 2 of 3 for a webinar addressing OSHA regulations. You can find the webinar above and the transcription below.

Step 3

Step one is was there an injury or illness, step two is is it work related, in step three you need to determine is is a new case. To determine if it's a new case, generally we say it has to be exactly what it sounds like— a new case. This means that if you had a similar injury or an injury to the same part of your body, you must be completely healed from that injury before you can call an injury “new”. Likewise, if you had a similar illness, you must be completely healed from that illness. For it to be new, you have to have gotten completely over the old one before you can have a new injury or illness.

Example 1

Five weeks ago, an employee sprained their wrist at work, received support, prescription medication, and got put on 'light duty'. Two weeks ago, the employee was back on the normal job and completely recovered. Today (5 weeks after the initial injury) the employee complains of the pain in the same wrist while moving boxes. Is this a new case?

Answer: Generally, if there's an exposure that triggers the re-occurrence, we call it a new case. If it's a sign or symptoms that occur in the absence of an exposure, it's not a new case. If we look at this particular instance, we are going to say that the employee had completely recovered from the previous injury and now this is a new exposure and new injury. We are basing that judgement on what the doctor said; the doctor had cleared them. They also were off of light duty, and had returned to work at full duty. Based on that, they were completely healed and now they've re-injured it so that would be a new case. 

Example 2

Situation: Five weeks ago an employee sprained their wrist at work and received support, prescription medication, and 'light duty'. Two weeks ago they were back on the normal job, but continued to take prescription medication. Today, five weeks after the injury, the employee complains of pain in the same wrist after moving boxes. Is this a new case or was the employee not completely healed?

Answer: In this instance, the employee has not completely recovered from the previous injury. Because of this, we would update the previously recorded injury on the OSHA log and then continue on with the treatment. Because they were still taking prescription medication, they were not completely healed yet.

Example 3

Situation: An employee fractures his foot at work. Every six months or so it bothers him and he is placed on light duty for a day or two. Is this one going to be a new or recurring injury?

Answer: If we look at this one, it's another tough one because I only gave two options—we need to get more information. We can't determine just based on the fact that they've fractured their foot and it bothers them. We need to make the determination if the employee had completely recovered or if they had not completely recovered. For this one, we don't have enough information whether or not this is a new case or a recurring case.

Step 4

That brings us up to our next step. Step 4 asks us “Does it meet the general criteria for being a  recordable injury?” An injury or an illness is going to be recordable if it:

·         Involves or results in a fatality
·         If the employee cannot return to work
·         If the employee can only return to work but in a restricted fashion
·         If the employee returns to work but cannot complete their normal duties and is transferred to a different job or department
·         If an employee receives medical treatment beyond first aid
·         If the employee loses consciousness at any point during the day or during the work
·         If a physician or other licensed health care professional diagnoses the employee with a significant injury or illness

Counting the Days

If an employee experiences days away from work, any time the employee cannot return to work we mark as days away from work on the OSHA log. If the employee cannot return to work that's always a recordable injury. You will not include the actual day of the injury or illness; you'll always start your day count the very next day. When you count days away, you're going to count the number of calendar days. Same thing as when you count restricted work or transferred work—you're always going to count calendar days. If an employee gets injured on Friday but returns to work on Monday to full duty and normally did not work Saturday and Sunday, you still have to count Saturday and Sunday as days away.

The reason for this? OSHA used to state that you would count work days. However, every time somebody got hurt, they were suddenly automatically taking the next few days off. The statistics didn't line-up right because instead of all employers being honest, some employers were less than honest and would say, "Oh yeah, that guy! He just happened to get hurt the day before he was scheduled for vacation. Funny how all our employees get hurt before they are scheduled for vacation. We don't really know why that happens." That went on for a few years, but OSHA caught on and said employers must count calendar days and not work days.

The Ultimatum

Though you’ve got to count calendar days whenever you count days away, restricted, or transfer, you can stop counting days at 180 days. Once somebody's away from work on transfer duty or light duty for more than 180 days, that's when you can stop counting. The maximum amount is 180 days. When you do have a day away, restricted or transfer day, you are going to mark that on your OSHA log. 


Restricted work cases and those that are transferred are going to be just that—if you cannot complete your total job duties, you are considered restricted. If you have to be transferred to a different department or location, you are considered transferred.

It’s not going to be recordable if you can still do your same job function but at a slower rate.

Example: Let's say that the doctor gives you a restriction and says you cannot use your left arm—you are only to use your right arm at work. So, you go to work, but you say “Well, you know what, during my work days I don't need to use my left arm; I can do everything I do with just my right arm. Granted I might be able to do it quite as fast, but I can still do it.” This would not be a recordable because that restriction the doctor gave you didn't actually restrict you from doing your job.

Sometimes, you'll see that doctor will say, “All you need to know is that the employee can't stand on his head.” Well, I don't stand on my head for work—so that restriction wouldn't count as a recordable injury because it doesn't apply to what you are working on or how you are doing. It's also not a recordable injury if you just have minor aches and pains. If you are going to restrict somebody's work activities, simply to prevent a more serious condition from developing, that's not a recordable either. If you'd like to restrict people from lifting more than 500 pounds at work, you can put that restriction on but you don't have to record that. 

Job Transfer

Job transfer is the act of getting transferred to a different location or department. Job transfers are also going to be capped at 180 days. Job transfers are usually temporary; if you'd like to make a permanent job transfer or permanently modify somebody's is job duties, you can stop your transfer date count at that point in time because you have now provided a permanent solution for that employee. 

Medical Treatment
Medical treatment is the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder. When we talk about medical treatment, we have to think about what is included in medical treatment and what is not. Just because I went to the doctor doesn't automatically mean that I got medical treatment; it just means I went to the doctor. It’s not medical treatment if:

·         You get to the doctor and the doctor says you’re healthy
·         The doctor has you in for observation or counseling
·         It’s just diagnostic procedures such as an x-ray or an MRI
·         The doctor performs what is by definition first aid

First Aid

The first-aid list is all-inclusive; there is no additional treatment or things that a doctor can do outside of this list. It’s first-aid (not medical treatment) if:

·         The doctor tells you to go home and take some Advil. (If the doctor says to take prescription strength Advil, that's no longer first aid because they have given you a prescription. Any time a doctor writes a prescription to an employee, that's considered beyond first aid. Because it involves a prescription medicine, that is medical treatment and must be recorded.)
·         You get a tetanus shot. It’s considered first-aid because it's an immunization and those are very common. Other immunizations are not always considered first aid.
·          They clean, flush, or soak a wound or bandage it with the butterfly or a Band-Aid, it’s not considered medical treatment.
·          They give you an ice pack to reduce swelling or something like that or a put a heat pack on you. (That's just hot and cold therapy.)
·         They give you non-rigid means of support. (Meaning you did not get a cast. If you get a cast, that's medical treatment.) If you are getting an ace bandage or something similar to that, that's considered non-rigid and first-aid.
·         You get a finger splint.
·         They drill out your finger or toe nails to drain fluid from a blister.
·         They put an eye patch over your eye.
·         If they remove something from your eye with just basic irritation or cotton swabs, that's first aid. (If they remove a foreign object from your eye using tweezers or other devices, that is no longer considered first aid.)
·          With splinters or other materials, anywhere else from your eye, or if you get a splinter anywhere else in your body, they can pull it out with a tweezers (or other simple means, such as a pin or something similar to help remove a sliver) and it will be considered basic first-aid.
·          You get a massage or administered drinking fluids for relief of heat stress or minor dehydration. (If you were to get an IV for dehydration that's considered medical treatment.)

Automatic Recordables

·         Anytime someone loses consciousness during the day that is going to be immediately become a recordable injury. It doesn't matter why they lost consciousness or for how long. If someone faints in your office for any reason at all, it's going to be considered a recordable injury.
·         If there is any significant injury that is not diagnosed by a physician or a licensed healthcare professional those are always going to be recordable. For example, cancer, a punctured ear drum, or broken or chipped teeth are all considered significant injuries.
·         In regards to needle sticks and sharp injuries, if you do have a needlestick or sharp injury, those are all going to be recordable.
·         If you have a bloodborne pathogen exposure event, that's also got to be reportable even if it doesn't end up transferring a bloodborne pathogen. The fact that there was an exposure event would make it recordable automatically—though that's much more common in hospitals and places such as that.
·         If you are required remove one of your employees from the workplace due to an OSHA regulation, it’s recordable. There are a few regulations out about lead standards. If your blood levels get above a certain amount, you are medically required to be removed from the workplace. If you are required to be removed, then you have to record that.  IF you voluntarily remove someone, you don't. 
·         If you have an employee suffering standard threshold shift, graded at 10 decibels in either ear, that's what we consider occupational hearing loss and recordable on the OSHA log. If you get tuberculosis, and it is from work, it is recordable.
·         If you get tuberculosis because you have an exposure to someone with an active case of tuberculosis outside the workplace that's not a work-related illness because it's presumed that you got the tuberculosis from the exposure that you received outside of the workplace. 

OSHA Forms

We have three OSHA forms that we are going to talk about today; the OSHA 300, which is our log of work-related injuries and illnesses, the 300A which is the summary, and the 301 which is the incident report.

OSHA 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses

This is where you are going to log any work-related injury or illness that you are going to have at your workplace. Remember earlier we talked about the four questions we are going to ask? Was there an injury? Was it work related? Is it a new case? Does it meet the recording criteria? If the answer yes, then that injury or illness needs to be on your log. You have seven days to put an injury or illness on your log from the time that you are made aware of its occurrence.

You can see right here that I've got ‘A’ as case number (you are required to number each case), ‘B’ is the employee's name, ‘C’ is the job title, ‘D’ is the date, ‘E’ is where it occurred, ‘F’ is describe the injury, and then you have to classify the case.

To classify the case, you'll have to see if it goes in ‘G’, ‘H’, ‘I’, or ‘J’. ‘G’ is death. That is the most severe classification. ‘H’ is considered days away, second most severe. ‘I’ is job transfer or restriction which means that you could come back to work however you wouldn't be able to work in your full capacity. ‘J’ is other recordable cases. That’s going to be considered the least serious component in that row right there.

We’ve also got over her in the next column ‘K’ and ‘L’; the days away from work and the days that were transferred or restricted.

Our final column over here checks the injury column; choose type of injury whether it was an injury, skin disorder, or whatever it may have been. When we look at the form and answer information on the form, it's important to remember that you only note as the most serious outcome of the injury.

Example: If I have an employee whose injured and away from work for 10 days, but as a result of the injuries he ends up dying, I'm not going to put on my log that there were days away. Instead, I'll mark the fatality. I don't want to mark both of those. You'll see on the log that you check only one the death, days away, transferred, or other. You’re only going to check one of those. Similarly, in the next box, where you've got on the job transfer and days away, you're going to mark the most severe or the most serious of that mid box. 

This concludes part 2 of 3 for our webinar. Stay tuned to catch Part 3 and the FAQ.