Yesterday, we answered questions from safety professionals about OSHA reportable injuries. Today, we conclude with a couple more questions and more information about how you can become a Safety.BLR.com subscriber and get all your safety questions answered.
A. Based on the OSHA excerpt from a letter of interpretation below, this case appears to be an OSHA recordable.
An employee must report to work by 8:00 a.m. The employee drove into the company parking lot at 7:30 a.m. and parked the car. The employee exited the car and proceeded to the office to report to work. The parking lot and sidewalks are privately owned by the facility and both are within the property line, but not the controlled access points (i.e., fence, guards). The employee stepped onto the sidewalk and slipped on the snow and ice. The employee suffered a back injury and missed multiple days of work. The company believes that the employee was still in the process of the commute to work since the employee had not yet checked in at the office. Since a work task was not being performed, the site personnel deemed the incident not work-related and therefore not recordable.
Response: Company parking lots and sidewalks are part of the employer’s establishment for recordkeeping purposes. Here, the employee slipped on an icy sidewalk while walking to the office to report for work. In addition, the event or exposure that occurred does not meet any of the work-related exceptions contained in 1904.5(b)(2). The employee was on the sidewalk because of work; therefore, the case is work-related regardless of the fact that he had not actually checked in.
Q. If there is an employee exposure to a possible infectious disease that is not a needle stick/sharp injury, and the employer treats the employee prophylactically with an antibiotic, is it recordable if the employee never develops the disease?
A. The following is from an OSHA letter of interpretation:
If the antibiotic was a prescription medication, the case is recordable regardless of whether the medication was given solely as a preventive measure. In the preamble to the final recordkeeping rule, OSHA specifically addressed the use of prescription antibiotics for prophylactic reasons. The agency concluded that all prescription medications should be considered medical treatment because they are powerful substances that can only be prescribed by a licensed health care professional.
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