Question: An employee is injured and is provided a splint with semi-rigid stays by a doctor as treatment. Is it recordable?
Answer: YES. Splints are used to immobilize the body part which makes this medical treatment and recordable, even if it is considered semi-rigid or has removable stays, a splint will always be considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes.
Letter of Interpretation Section 1904.7(a) of OSHA's recordkeeping regulation requires employers to record work-related injuries and illnesses that result in medical treatment beyond first aid. Section 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(F) states the use of any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc., is considered first aid for OSHA recordkeeping purposes. Section 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(F) further states that orthopedic devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes. If the brace is rigid and is being used to immobilize the injured body part, then this is considered medical treatment and recordable. Otherwise, using any non-rigid means of support is considered first aid and not recordable.
Furthermore, OSHA does not use the term “semi-rigid” because the purpose of an orthopedic device is to immobilize the body part. For OSHA recordkeeping purposes, a splint will always be considered medical treatment, even if the “splint” is fabricated to fit the injured employee. Therefore, if an employee has a work-related injury that results in the use of a “splint,” the case will always be recordable.