Employer Disagrees With the Doctor

Question:
An employee is injured at work and receives a recommendation of lost time from a medical professional. The employer and employee reject the doctor's recommendation to take time off and the employee returns to work. Is it recordable?

Answer:
YES. ​The employer is required to follow the recommendation provided by the medical professional. If there are two different contemporaneous opinions, the employer gets to decide which is more authoritative. However, if medical treatment has already been provided (i.e., a script was issued) then it is must be recorded regardless of any differing medical opinions. ​

1904.7(b)(3)(ii)How do I record an injury or illness when a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends that the worker stay at home but the employee comes to work anyway? You must record these injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 Log using the check box for cases with days away from work and enter the number of calendar days away recommended by the physician or other licensed health care professional. If a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends days away, you should encourage your employee to follow that recommendation. However, the days away must be recorded whether the injured or ill employee follows the physician or licensed health care professional's recommendation or not. 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.

OSHA's Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) 7-10a ...once medical treatment is provided for a work-related injury or illness, or days away from work or work restriction have occurred, the case is recordable. If there are conflicting contemporaneous recommendations regarding medical treatment, or the need for days away from work or restricted work activity, but the medical treatment is not actually provided and no days away from work or days of work restriction have occurred, the employer may determine which recommendation is the most authoritative and record on that basis. In the case of prescription medications, OSHA considers that medical treatment is provided once a prescription is issued.

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