Question: While welcoming a guest to the office and escorting them in the elevator, an employee is exposed to heavy perfume. The employee has non-occupational asthma and is forced to self-medicate using a rescue inhaler that was prescribed by their personal physician. Is it recordable?
Answer: YES. Even though the asthma is a pre-existing condition, OSHA states that a pre-existing illness can become recordable when an event or exposure in the work environment significantly aggravates the condition.
Letter of Interpretation Section 1904.5(b)(4) states, “A pre-existing injury or illness has been significantly aggravated, for purposes of OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping, when an event or exposure in the work environment results in . . . (iv) Medical treatment in a case where no medical treatment was needed for the injury or illness before the workplace event or exposure, or a change in medical treatment was necessitated by the workplace event or exposure.” Section 1904.5(b)(5) provides that an injury or illness is a pre-existing condition if it resulted solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurred outside the work environment.