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Black Widow

Black Widow

Question: A group of employees are cleaning out a neglected warehouse for a new project at work. Suddenly one employee screams out in pain slapping at his wrist and holding it tight. The other employees rush to find a black widow spider crawling on the ground. They immediately kill the spider and rush the employee to the ER as he is having a terrible allegoric reaction. The ER administers an anti-venom injection and holds the employee for a few hours to monitor the reaction. The employee ends up being alright and he is released the same day. Is it recordable?

Answer: YES. The spider bite is considered work-related required an anti-venom injection, which is treatment beyond first aid.

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);

Letter of Interpretation:
Dear Ms. Ballas:
Thank you for your August 18, 2011, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the recordkeeping regulation contained in 29 CFR Part 1904 - Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. In an effort to provide the public with prompt and accurate responses, we developed and continue to refine a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), in addition to maintaining a log of Letters of Interpretation (LOI) on the OSHA Recordkeeping web site.

Scenario: Your letter states an employee had a chemical intolerance to spider bites, and was bitten at work and subsequently had to have treatment beyond first aid.

Question 1: Would the employer still have to record this case or can any work relationship exception be used?

Response 1: The spider bite is considered work related and recordable because the injured employee received medical treatment beyond first aid. OSHA has consistently taken the position that insect bites or animal bites on premises are work related. Sec, OSHA's preamble to the final rule revising the recordkeeping regulation (66 Fed. Reg. at 6079). The case does not meet any of the work-related exceptions in Section 1904.5(b)(2).

Question 2: Any suggestions as to how the employer could prevent this?

​Response 2: OSHA notes that many circumstances that lead to a recordable work-related injury or illness are "beyond the employer's control." Nevertheless, because the injury was caused by an event at work, and it required medical treatment, it must be recorded on your OSHA Log. This approach is consistent with the no-fault recordkeeping system OSHA has historically administered, which includes work-related injuries and illnesses, regardless of the level of employer control or non-control involved. Both the Note to Subpart A of the Part 1904 regulation and the OSHA Form 300 expressly state that recording a case does not indicate fault, negligence, or compensability.

Please note, Section 1910.141(a)(5), OSHA's general industry standard, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart J - General Environmental Controls, covers vermin control at permanent places of employment:

Vermin control. Every enclosed workplace shall be so constructed, equipped, and maintained, so far as reasonably practicable, as to prevent the entrance or harborage of rodents, insects, and other vermin. A continuing and effective extermination program shall be instituted where their presence is detected.

For further guidance on section, 1910.141(a)(5), please contact OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs.

Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP)
U.S. Dept. of Labor, OSHA
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, RM N-3119
Washington, DC 20210
(202) 693-2100 Phone

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