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Fractured Ribs

Fractured Ribs

Question: A truck driver hauling heavy freight experiences a rollover accident just before his DOT-required break. The truck driver is able to crawl out of his truck and he’s looked over by first responders. Everything seems to be alright, but his right-side ribs are in pain. The driver is seen at the nearest urgent care where an x-ray reveals two fractured ribs, likely caused by the seat belt and the force of the rollover wreck. The driver insists on not missing any time and the doctor obliges by not prescribing any lost time or work restrictions. The employee does not receive any medical treatment and is directed to take over-the-counter Tylenol to help with pain, if needed. The driver is back in a new truck two days later. Is it recordable?

Answer: YES. From the information provided, the employee suffered fractured ribs as confirmed by x-ray. OSHA considers broken ribs to be a significant injury. Therefore, this injury is recordable.

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.

Note to § 1904.7: OSHA believes that most significant injuries and illnesses will result in one of the criteria listed in § 1904.7(a): death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness. However, there are some significant injuries, such as a punctured eardrum or a fractured toe or rib, for which neither medical treatment nor work restrictions may be recommended. In addition, there are some significant progressive diseases, such as byssinosis, silicosis, and some types of cancer, for which medical treatment or work restrictions may not be recommended at the time of diagnosis but are likely to be recommended as the disease progresses. OSHA believes that cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones, and punctured eardrums are generally considered significant injuries and illnesses, and must be recorded at the initial diagnosis even if medical treatment or work restrictions are not recommended, or are postponed, in a particular case.

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