Frost Bite

Question: An employee arrives to work in half a foot of snow in subzero temps. As he quickly makes his way into the warm building, he drops his keys in the snow. It is dark out. The keys are sunken in the snow and the employee is not wearing gloves. After locating the keys, the employee goes inside where he begins his work for the day. Shortly into his day, he begins to feel pain in his hand. An occupational health doctor provides a diagnosis of frost bite and treats the wound by removing dead skin tissue and also prescribes anti-inflammatory drugs. Additionally, the doctor recommends the employee stays home to recover until the follow up appointment one week later. Is it recordable?

Answer: YES. The injury occurred on company property at the beginning of the day, after the commute had ended and is therefore work-related. The employee received medical treatment beyond first aid and a recommendation to stay home, making this a recordable injury.

1904.5(a) 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)(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."