Two Medical Opinions
Question: An employee is stung on their neck by an unknown insect and the on-site nurse observes that the employee is not having a serious reaction and provides ice to reduce minor local swelling. The employee leaves work and decides to see their family doctor. The family doctor provides prescription antibiotics to the employee and recommends taking 2 days off until healed. The employee reports the doctor visit, medical treatment and recommendation for time off work to the employer but the employer asks the employee to visit a different doctor for a second opinion. The same day, the employee visits the second doctor. The second doctor states that they think the antibiotics were unnecessary and clears the employee for work without a need for days away from work. Is it recordable?
Answer: YES. It is recordable because medical treatment has been provided. OSHA does allow the employer to seek a second opinion and also to choose which opinion is most authoritative. However, as soon as medical treatment as been provided, it must be counted. The second opinion, in this scenario does allow the employer to avoid counting the incident as days away (lost time).
Letter of Interpretation In certain circumstances, OSHA's recordkeeping requirements permit an employer to choose between two conflicting or differing medical recommendations. When an employer receives contemporaneous recommendations from two or more physicians or other licensed health care professionals about the need for medical treatment, the employer may decide which recommendation is the most authoritative and record the case based on that recommendation. However, once medical treatment is provided for a work-related injury or illness, the case is recordable.