OSHA Recordkeeping Advisor Glossary
Days Away from Work
The term "days away from work" has a plain language meaning.
Some questions on it have been addressed in interpretations at
Note on: Loss of consciousness (from https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/handbook/index.html#1904.9_2)
OSHA has not included a separate definition for the term "loss of consciousness." However, the language of paragraph 1904.7(b)(6) has been carefully crafted to address two issues. First, the paragraph refers to a worker becoming "unconscious," which means a complete loss of consciousness and not a sense of disorientation, "feeling woozy," or a other diminished level of awareness. Second, the final rule makes it clear that loss of consciousness does not depend on the amount of time the employee is unconscious. If the employee is rendered unconscious for any length of time, no matter how brief, the case must be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log.
The rule, requires the employer to record any work-related injury or illness resulting in a loss of consciousness. The recording of occupational injuries and illnesses resulting in loss of consciousness is clearly required by Sections 8(c) and 24 of the OSH Act. The new rule differs from the former rule only in clearly applying the loss of consciousness criterion to illnesses as well as injuries. Since the former rule required the recording of all illnesses, illnesses involving loss of consciousness were recordable, and thus OSHA expects that this clarification will not change recording practices. Thus, any time a worker becomes unconscious as a result of a workplace exposure to chemicals, heat, an oxygen deficient environment, a blow to the head, or some other workplace hazard that causes loss of consciousness, the employer must record the case...
In order to be a recordable event, a loss of consciousness must be the result of a workplace event or exposure. Loss of consciousness is no different, in this respect, from any other injury or illness. The exceptions to the presumption of work-relationship at Section 1904.5(b)(2)(ii) allow the employer to exclude cases that "involve signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the work environment." This exception allows the employer to exclude cases where a loss of consciousness is due solely to a personal health condition, such as epilepsy, diabetes, or narcolepsy...
The final rule does not contain an exception for loss of consciousness associated with phobias or first aid treatment. OSHA notes, however, that the exception at paragraph 1904.5(b)(2)(iii) allows the employer to rebut the presumption of work relationship if "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, flu shot, exercise class, racquetball, or baseball." This exception would eliminate the recording of fainting episodes involving voluntary vaccination programs, blood donations and the like. However, episodes of fainting from mandatory medical procedures such as blood tests mandated by OSHA standards, mandatory physicals, and so on would be considered work-related events, and would be recordable on the Log if they meet one or more of the recording criteria. Similarly, a fainting episode involving a phobia stemming from an event or exposure in the work environment would be recordable...
Medical treatment and first aid
What is the definition of medical treatment? "Medical treatment" means the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder. For the purposes of Part 1904, medical treatment does not include:
Visits to a physician or other licensed health care professional solely for observation or counseling;
The conduct of diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays and blood tests, including the administration of prescription medications used solely for diagnostic purposes (e.g., eye drops to dilate pupils); or
"First aid" as defined in paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section.
What is "first aid"? For the purposes of Part 1904, "first aid" means the following:
Using a non-prescription medication at nonprescription strength (for medications available in both prescription and non-prescription form, a recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional to use a non-prescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes);
Administering tetanus immunizations (other immunizations, such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine, are considered medical treatment);
Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin;
Using wound coverings such as bandages, Band-Aids™, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips™ (other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc., are considered medical treatment);
Using hot or cold therapy;
Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes);
Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.).
Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister;
Using eye patches;
Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab;
Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means;
Using finger guards;
Using massages (physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes); or
Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress.
Are any other procedures included in first aid? No, this is a complete list of all treatments considered first aid for Part 1904 purposes.
Does the professional status of the person providing the treatment have any effect on what is considered first aid or medical treatment? No, OSHA considers the treatments listed in § 1904.7(b)(5)(ii) of this Part to be first aid regardless of the professional status of the person providing the treatment. Even when these treatments are provided by a physician or other licensed health care professional, they are considered first aid for the purposes of Part 1904. Similarly, OSHA considers treatment beyond first aid to be medical treatment even when it is provided by someone other than a physician or other licensed health care professional.
What if a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends medical treatment but the employee does not follow the recommendation? If a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends medical treatment, you should encourage the injured or ill employee to follow that recommendation. However, you must record the case even if the injured or ill employee does not follow the physician or other licensed health care professional's recommendation.
Other potentially infectious material
(1) What does "other potentially infectious material" mean?
The term "other potentially infectious materials" is defined in the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard at Section 1910.1030(b). These materials include:
- Human bodily fluids, tissues and organs, and
- Other materials infected with the HIV or hepatitis B (HBV) virus such as laboratory cultures or tissues from experimental animals.
(2) Does this mean that I must record all cuts, lacerations, punctures, and scratches?
No, you need to record cuts, lacerations, punctures, and scratches only if they are work-related and involve contamination with another person's blood or other potentially infectious material. If the cut, laceration, or scratch involves a clean object, or a contaminant other than blood or other potentially infectious material, you need to record the case only if it meets one or more of the recording criteria in Section 1904.7.
(3) If I record an injury and the employee is later diagnosed with an infectious bloodborne disease, do I need to update the OSHA 300 Log?
Yes, you must update the classification of the case on the OSHA 300 Log if the case results in death, days away from work, restricted work, or job transfer. You must also update the description to identify the infectious disease and change the classification of the case from an injury to an illness.
(4) What if one of my employees is splashed or exposed to blood or other potentially infectious material without being cut or scratched? Do I need to record this incident?
You need to record such an incident on the OSHA 300 Log as an illness if:
- It results in the diagnosis of a bloodborne illness, such as HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C; or
- It meets one or more of the recording criteria in Section 1904.7.
How do I decide if the injury or illness resulted in restricted work? Restricted work occurs when, as the result of a work-related injury or illness:
You keep the employee from performing one or more of the routine functions of his or her job, or from working the full workday that he or she would otherwise have been scheduled to work; or
A physician or other licensed health care professional recommends that the employee not perform one or more of the routine functions of his or her job, or not work the full workday that he or she would otherwise have been scheduled to work.
What is meant by "routine functions"? For recordkeeping purposes, an employee's routine functions are those work activities the employee regularly performs at least once per week.
Do I have to record restricted work or job transfer if it applies only to the day on
which the injury occurred or the illness began? No, you do not have to record restricted work or job transfers if you, or the physician or other licensed health care professional, impose the restriction or transfer only for the day on which the injury occurred or the illness began.
If you or a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends
a work restriction, is the injury or illness automatically recordable as a "restricted work" case? No, a recommended work restriction is recordable only if it affects one or more of the employee's routine job functions. To determine whether this is the case, you must evaluate the restriction in light of the routine functions of the injured or ill employee's job. If the restriction from you or the physician or other licensed health care professional keeps the employee from performing one or more of his or her routine job functions, or from working the full workday the injured or ill employee would otherwise have worked, the employee's work has been restricted and you must record the case.
How do I record a case where the worker works only for a partial work shift because of a work-related injury or illness? A partial day of work is recorded as a day of job transfer or restriction for recordkeeping purposes, except for the day on which the injury occurred or the illness began.
If the injured or ill worker produces fewer goods or services than he or she would have produced prior to the injury or illness but otherwise performs all of the routine functions of his or her work, is the case considered a restricted work case? No, the case is considered restricted work only if the worker does not perform all of the routine functions of his or her job or does not work the full shift that he or she would otherwise have worked.
How do I handle vague restrictions from a physician or other licensed health care professional, such as that the employee engage only in "light duty" or "take it easy for a week"? If you are not clear about the physician or other licensed health care professional's recommendation, you may ask that person whether the employee can do all of his or her routine job functions and work all of his or her normally assigned work shift. If the answer to both of these questions is "Yes," then the case does not involve a work restriction and does not have to be recorded as such. If the answer to one or both of these questions is "No," the case involves restricted work and must be recorded as a restricted work case. If you are unable to obtain this additional information from the physician or other licensed health care professional who recommended the restriction, record the injury or illness as a case involving restricted work.
What do I do if a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends a job restriction meeting OSHA's definition, but the employee does all of his or her routine job functions anyway? You must record the injury or illness on the OSHA 300 Log as a restricted work case. If a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends a job restriction, you should ensure that the employee complies with that restriction. If you receive recommendations from two or more physicians or other licensed health care professionals, you may make a decision as to which recommendation is the most authoritative, and record the case based upon that recommendation.
How do I decide if an injury or illness involved a transfer to another job? If you assign an injured or ill employee to a job other than his or her regular job for part of the day, the case involves transfer to another job. Note: This does not include the day on which the injury or illness occurred.
Are transfers to another job recorded in the same way as restricted work cases? Yes, both job transfer and restricted work cases are recorded in the same box on the OSHA 300 Log. For example, if you assign, or a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends that you assign, an injured or ill worker to his or her routine job duties for part of the day and to another job for the rest of the day, the injury or illness involves a job transfer. You must record an injury or illness that involves a job transfer by placing a check in the box for job transfer.
How do I count days of job transfer or restriction? You count days of job transfer or restriction in the same way you count days away from work, using § 1904.7(b)(3)(i) to (viii), above. The only difference is that, if you permanently assign the injured or ill employee to a job that has been modified or permanently changed in a manner that eliminates the routine functions the employee was restricted from performing, you may stop the day count when the modification or change is made permanent. You must count at least one day of restricted work or job transfer for such cases.
Significant diagnosed injury or illness
Pursuant to 1904.7.b.7, a "significant" diagnosed injury or illness is recordable under the general criteria even if it does NOT result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
Work-related cases involving cancer, chronic irreversible disease, a fractured or cracked bone, or a punctured eardrum must always be recorded under the general criteria at the time of diagnosis by a physician or other licensed health care professional
Paragraph 1904.7(b)(7) Recording Significant Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Diagnosed by a Physician or Other Licensed Health Care Professional
Paragraph 1904.7(b)(7) of the final rule requires the recording of any significant work-related injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional. Paragraph 1904.7(b)(7) clarifies which significant, diagnosed work-related injuries and illnesses OSHA requires the employer to record in those rare cases where a significant work-related injury or illness has not triggered recording under one or more of the general recording criteria, i.e, has not resulted in death, loss of consciousness, medical treatment beyond first aid, restricted work or job transfer, or days away from work. OSHA believes that the great majority of significant occupational injuries and illnesses will be captured by one or more of the other general recording criteria in Section 1904.7. However, OSHA has found that there is a limited class of significant work-related injuries and illnesses that may not be captured under the other Section 1904.7 criteria. Therefore, the final rule stipulates at paragraph 1904.7(b)(7) that any significant work-related occupational injury or illness that is not captured by any of the general recording criteria but is diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional be recorded in the employer's records.
Under the final rule, an injury or illness case is considered significant if it is a work-related case involving occupational cancer (e.g., mesothelioma), chronic irreversible disease (e.g., chronic beryllium disease), a fractured or cracked bone (e.g., broken arm, cracked rib), or a punctured eardrum. The employer must record such cases within 7 days of receiving a diagnosis from a physician or other licensed health care professional that an injury or illness of this kind has occurred...
...[T]here are some significant injuries, such as a punctured eardrum or a fractured toe or rib, for which neither medical treatment nor work restrictions may be administered or recommended.
There are also a number of significant occupational diseases that progress once the disease process begins or reaches a certain point, such as byssinosis, silicosis, and some types of cancer, for which medical treatment or work restrictions may not be recommended at the time of diagnosis, although medical treatment and loss of work certainly will occur at later stages. This provision is designed to capture this small group of significant work-related cases. Although the employer is required to record these illnesses even if they manifest themselves after the employee leaves employment (assuming the illness meets the standards for work-relatedness that apply to all recordable incidents), these cases are less likely to be recorded once the employee has left employment. OSHA believes that work-related cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractures of bones or teeth and punctured eardrums are generally recognized as constituting significant diagnoses and, if the condition is work-related, are appropriately recorded at the time of initial diagnosis even if, at that time, medical treatment or work restrictions are not recommended.
...[T]o address the gap in case capture presented by significant injury and illness cases that escape the general recording criteria, OSHA is requiring employers to record cases of chronic, irreversible disease under the Section 1904.7(b)(7) criterion. This means that if long-term workplace exposure to aniline results in a chronic, irreversible liver or kidney disease, the case would be recordable at the time of diagnosis, even if no medical treatment is administered at that time and no time is lost from work. The regulatory text of paragraph 1904.7(b)(7) limits the types of conditions that are recordable, however, to significant diagnosed injury and illness cases, which are defined as cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones, and punctured eardrums.
How Should the Agency Define "Significant" Injury or Illness?
...OSHA believes that the conditions that are required to be recorded under Section 1904.7(b)(7) of the final rule represent significant occupational injuries and illnesses as described in the OSH Act. Some clearly significant injuries or illnesses are not amenable to medical treatment, at least at the time of initial diagnosis. For example, a fractured rib, a broken toe, or a punctured eardrum are often, after being diagnosed, left to heal on their own without medical treatment and may not result in days away from work, but they are clearly significant injuries. Similarly, an untreatable occupational cancer is clearly a significant injury or illness. The second set of conditions identified in paragraph 1904.7(b)(7), chronic irreversible diseases, are cases that would clearly become recordable at some point in the future (unless the employee leaves employment before medical treatment is provided), when the employee's condition worsens to a point where medical treatment, time away from work, or restricted work are needed. By providing for recording at the time of diagnosis, paragraph 1904.7(b)(7) of the final rule makes the significant, work-related condition recordable on discovery, a method that ensures the collection to timely data. This approach will result in better injury and illness data and also is likely to be more straightforward for employers to comply with, since there is no further need to track the case to determine whether, and at what point, it becomes recordable.
The core of the recording requirement codified at Section 1904.7(b)(7) is the employer's determination that a "significant" injury or illness has been diagnosed...In the final rule, OSHA has adopted an approach...focusing on two types of injury and illness: those that may be essentially untreatable, at least in the early stages and perhaps never (fractured and cracked bones, certain types of occupational cancer, and punctured eardrums) and those expected to progressively worsen and become serious over time (chronic irreversible diseases). ...[T]he final rule relies exclusively on the diagnosis of a limited class of injuries and illnesses by a physician or other licensed health care professional.
Clarifying That Cases Captured by Paragraph 1904.7(b)(7) Must Be Work Related
...OSHA wishes to reiterate that any condition that is recordable on the OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping forms must be work-related, and Section 1904.7(b)(7) includes the term "work-related" to make this fact clear. In addition, because the employer will be dealing with a physician or other licensed health care professional, he or she may also be able to consult with the health care professional about the work-relatedness of the particular case. If the employer determines, based either on his or her own findings or those of the professional, that the symptoms are merely arising at work, but are caused by some non-work illness, then the case would not be recorded, under exception (b)(2)(ii) to the work-relatedness presumption at Section 1904.5(b)(2) of the final rule. Similarly, if workplace events or exposures contributed only insignificantly to the aggravation of a worker's preexisting condition, the case need not be recorded under Section 1904.5(a) and Section 1904.5(b)(3) of the final rule.
The provisions of Section 1904.7(b)(7) of the final rule thus meet the objectives of (1) capturing significant injuries and illnesses that do not meet the other general recording criteria of death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness; (2) excluding minor injuries and illnesses; (3) addressing a limited range of disorders; and (4) making it clear that these injuries and illnesses must be work-related before they must be recorded.
Standard Threshold Shift (STS) in hearing in one or both ears
If an employee's hearing test (audiogram) reveals that the employee has experienced a work-related
Standard Threshold Shift (STS) in hearing in one or both ears, and the employee's total hearing
level is 25 decibels (dB) or more above audiometric zero (averaged at 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hz)
in the same ear(s) as the STS, you must record the case on the OSHA 300 Log.
See: Recording criteria for cases involving occupational hearing loss. - 1904.10
NOTE: If the employee is not covered by the 29 CFR 1910.95 noise standard, OSHA rules do not require the employer to administer baseline or periodic audiograms, and the 1904 rule does not impose any new requirements for employers to obtain baseline information where it is not already required. However, some employers conduct such tests and acquire such information for other reasons. If the employer's workplace is a high noise environment (i.e., has noise levels that exceed 85 dBA) and the employer has the relevant audiogram information for an employee, the employer must record any identified work-related hearing loss equal to or greater than an OSHA defined STS on the log. This means that an employer in the construction industry, for example, who is aware that his or her work activities regularly generate high noise levels and who has audiometric data on the hearing level of the employees exposed to those noise levels must record on the Log any [recordable hearing loss] detected in those workers. (This note is from http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/handbook/index.html.)