Heart Attack After an Incident
Question: An employee enters a trench and becomes buried after the wall of the trench collapses. He is rescued quickly seems to be fine but is taken by ambulance to the ER for evaluation. While riding in the ambulance, the employee suffers a heart attack and dies. Is it recordable?
Answer: YES. It is reasonable to believe that the trench incident triggered the heart attack due to the circumstances and OSHA operates under a presumption of work-relatedness. Some work-related injuries do not manifest themselves immediately. However, if a doctor provides an opinion that the workplace did not contribute to the heart attack, it would not be recordable because that would constitute evidence to overcome the presumption.
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
Reporting Requirement: A fatality must be reported within 8 hours.
To Make a Report: Call the nearest OSHA office. Call the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA). Or report online.
Be prepared to supply: Business name; names of employees affected; location and time of the incident, brief description of the incident; contact person and phone number.