Question: A installation tech is installing a chemical fume hood in a lab. He decides to take a break for lunch and walk to the food court. While walking to the on-site food court, he notices a spill, assumes it is water and decides to wipe it up without using any PPE. 12 hours later, at home, the employee is experiencing swelling in his throat and ends up staying 2 days overnight for treatment. Is it recordable?
Answer: YES. The employee was injured in the work environment and being on a lunch break is not a listed exception to the presumption of work-relatedness. In fact, OSHA considers work breaks to be part of the normal workday.
Letter of Interpretation: Lunch breaks are considered assigned working hours for injury and illness recordkeeping purposes.
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