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Terminated Injured Employee

Terminated Injured Employee

Question: A line crew at a utility company are dispatched to replace a damaged power pole. The new pole was successfully placed and two linemen (one apprentice and one journeyman) go up into a bucket truck to attach the power lines to the new pole. The apprentice inadvertently grabs onto a charged line with both hands and receives a shock. In an effort to remove the apprentice from the wire, the journeyman uses the controls on the bucket to move away from the power line. The apprentice is unable to let go of the line due to the current and as the bucket moves away is left hanging on the line. The apprentice was wearing fall protection but did not clip onto the bucket and falls several feet. He is critically injured and hospitalized. Following the event, both the journeymen and apprentice are fired for "failing to follow procedures." The company decides to make the termination retroactive to the moment they failed to follow procedures. Is it recordable?

Answer: YES. The event is work-related and occurred during business hours while the employee was actively employed and doing work-related tasks and therefore must be recorded on the OSHA log. Also, in-person hospitalization must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours.

1904.39(a)(2) Within twenty-four (24) hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee's amputation or an employee's loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA.

OSHA FAQ: These cases [recordables that are discovered after termination] are recordable throughout the five year record retention and updating period contained in section 1904.33. The cases would be recorded on either the log of the year in which the injury or illness occurred or the last date of employment. See question 7-20.

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