Break Room Slip

Question:
An employee enters the company break room during normal working hours and slips in a puddle of water that was present from a leaky ceiling. A doctor’s x-ray determines the slip resulted in a fractured wrist that requires a cast. The employee is prescribed pain medication and returns to work the next day. Is it recordable?

Answer:
YES. The break room is considered a part of the work environment. From the information given, there is no apparent exception for keeping this incident off the log. The injury met three different recording criteria in the fractured bone (significant injury), cast (ridged support to immobilize the wrist), and prescribed pain medicine (medical treatment beyond first aid).

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

1904.5(b) Implementation.

1904.5(b)(1) What is the "work environment"? OSHA defines the work environment as "the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work."

1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(A) 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);

1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(F) 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);

1904.7(b)(7) What is a "significant" diagnosed injury or illness that 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.

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