Determine if the Injury or Illness is Work-Related

When an employee reports an illness or injury, you will have to decide if it should be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log. The following flow chart shows the steps you should use when making that decision.

Each fatality, injury, or illness is recordable if it:

  • Is work-related;

  • Is a new case; and

  • Meets one or more of the general recording criteria.

What is "Significant Aggravation"

An injury or illness is work-related if an event or exposure in the workplace (the work environment) either caused or contributed to the resulting condition, or if it significantly aggravated a preexisting injury or illness. When the work-relatedness is not clear, evaluate the employee's work duties and environment to decide whether or not one or more events or exposures at work either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a preexisting condition.

The preexisting injury or illness must be one caused entirely by non-occupational factors. An injury or illness is a "preexisting condition" if it results solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurred outside the work environment. Preexisting conditions also include any injury or illness that the employee experienced while working for another employer.

In order to be recordable, work must have clearly worsened the injury or illness. OSHA considers that a preexisting injury or illness has been significantly aggravated when an event or exposure in the workplace results in any of the following:

  • Death, provided that the preexisting injury or illness would likely not have resulted in death but for the occupational event or exposure.

  • Loss of consciousness, provided that the preexisting injury or illness would likely not have resulted in loss of consciousness but for the occupational event or exposure.

  • One or more days away from work, or days of restricted work, or days of job transfer that otherwise would not have occurred but for the occupational event or exposure.

  • Medical treatment in a case where no medical treatment was needed for the injury or illness before the workplace event or exposure, or a change in medical treatment was necessitated by the workplace event or exposure.

When employees are working or conducting other tasks in the interest of their employer but at a location away from the employer's establishment, the work-relatedness of an injury or illness that arises is subject to the same decision making process that would occur if the case had occurred at the establishment itself. This applies when a delivery driver experiences an injury to his or her back while loading boxes and transporting them into a building, or when an employee is injured in a car accident while running errands for the company or traveling to make a speech on behalf of the company.

Exceptions: Non-Recordable Situations

Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, except under the following conditions, which are not recordable.

  1. 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. In these situations, the injury or illness has nothing to do with the employee's work or status as an employee.

    Non-recordable — An employee of a retail store patronizing that store as a customer on a non-work day and was injured in a fall.

  2. 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. For this exception to apply, the work environment cannot have caused, contributed to, or significantly aggravated the injury or illness.

    Non-recordable — A diabetic incident that occurs while an employee is working. No event or exposure at work contributed in any way to the incident.

  3. 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. This allows you to exclude cases that are related to personal matters of exercise, recreation, medical examinations, or participation in blood donation programs when they are voluntary and are not being undertaken as a condition of work.

    Non-recordable — A worker is injured while performing aerobics in the company gymnasium during his or her lunch hour.

    Non-recordable — An employee suffers a severe reaction to a flu shot that was administered as part of a voluntary inoculation program.

  4. The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption, whether bought on your premises or brought in.

    Non-recordable — An employee is injured by choking on a sandwich brought from home while in your establishment. Likewise, if the employee contracts food poisoning from a sandwich brought from home or purchased in the company cafeteria and must take time off to recover, the case is not considered work-related.


    Note

    If the employee is made ill by eating food contaminated by workplace contaminants (such as lead), or gets food poisoning from food supplied by your company for a business meeting or company function, the case would be considered work-related.

  5. 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 (off-shift time).

    Non-recordable — An employee using a meeting room in your company, outside of his or her assigned work hours, to hold a meeting for a civic group and slipped and fell in the hallway.

  6. The injury or illness is solely the result of personal grooming, self medication for a non-work-related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted, such as attempted suicide.

    Non-recordable — A burn injury from a hair dryer used at work to dry the employee's hair.

    Non-recordable — A negative reaction to a medication brought from home to treat a non-work related condition.

  7. 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 or on a personal errand.

    Non-recordable — An employee is injured in a car accident while arriving at work, or while leaving the company's property at the end of the day, or while driving on his or her lunch hour to run an errand.


    Note

    If an employee is injured in a car accident while leaving the property to purchase supplies for work, the case is considered work-related. Likewise, if an employee is injured by slipping on ice permitted to accumulate in the parking lot, the case is work-related.

  8. The illness is the common cold or flu. These can be excluded, even if contracted while the employee was at work.


    Note

    You must evaluate cases of contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, or hepatitis C to determine if they are work-related.

  9. The illness is a mental illness. Mental illness will not be considered work-related unless the employee voluntarily provides you with an opinion from a physician or other licensed healthcare professional with appropriate training and experience, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or psychiatric nurse practitioner, stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work-related.


    Note

    If you do not believe the reported mental illness is work-related, you may refer the case to a physician or other licensed healthcare professional for a second opinion.

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