After-Hours Incident

Question: Late one night an employee realizes he left an anniversary gift he bought for his wife on a piece of equipment at work. He is planning to surprise his wife the next morning with the gift so he sneaks out and drives back to work. He arrives at his workstation and sees the small jewelry box has fallen behind a heavy shelving unit, just out of reach. As he attempts to push the shelf away from the wall it begins to tip and, he instinctually attempts to stop it from falling, smashing his hand and breaking a finger. Is it recordable?

Answer: NO. The employee was performing a personal task outside of the normal working hours. Injuries are considered to be not work-related when both of these conditions are met.

1904.5(b)(2)(v) You are not required to record injuries and illnesses if ... 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.

Letter of Interpretation: As explained in the preamble to the 2001 final rule, this exception is meant to be limited and only apply to situations where an employee is using the employer’s establishment for purely personal reasons outside of his or her assigned working hours. See, 66 Fed 5951.

​1904.5(a): Basic requirement. You must consider an injury or illness to be 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 (see relevant exception above)