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Turkey in an Autoclave

Turkey in an Autoclave

Question: Lab workers conducting animal research on livestock decide to cook a turkey in an autoclave while celebrating a birthday of a coworker. Several months later 2 of the employees are diagnosed with prion disease. The employees are prescribed medications. Is it recordable?

Answer: YES. Although it is likely that the employees violated company procedures and are, in a sense, at fault for this outcome, OSHA operates on a no-fault basis. There is no exception based on who is at fault (unless the employee intentionally caused self-harm) and therefore it should be presumed work-related and recorded.

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

1904.5(b)(2)(iv) ...If the employee is made ill by ingesting food contaminated by workplace contaminants (such as lead), or gets food poisoning from food supplied by the employer, the case would be considered work-related.

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