Injured Outside of the Workplace
Question: At a construction site, a worker needs water to mix cement. He leaves the worksite with a 5 gallon bucket and up to a 3rd party’s household tap and proceeds to fill his bucket. While walking with a heavy 5 gallon bucket of water he trips on the homeowner’s landscaping and breaks a bone in his foot. Is it recordable?
Answer: YES. Even though the employee was outside of the established worksite, he was still engaged in a work-related activity and therefore still in the work environment. A broken bone is considered a severe injury by OSHA and should be recorded whenever work-related.
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."
Letter of Interpretation: 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. 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.