Unauthorized Chair

Question: An office employee brings a hanging cloth chair to the workplace and installs it himself. The chair was not approved by management and was not installed properly. Shortly after sitting in the chair it comes loose from the ceiling and the employee breaks their tailbone. Is it recordable?

Answer: YES. Unauthorized tools or equipment are not listed as an exception to the recordkeeping rule. The broken bone is considered a severe injury according to the recordkeeping rule and therefore should be recorded.

1904.5(b)(2) Are there situations where an injury or illness occurs in the work environment and is not considered work-related? Yes, an injury or illness occurring in the work environment that falls under one of the following exceptions is not work-related, and therefore is not recordable.

You are not required to record injuries and illnesses if . . .

(i)At the time of the injury or illness, the employee was present in the work environment as a member of the general public rather than as an employee.

(ii)The injury or illness involves signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the work environment.

(iii)The injury or illness results solely from voluntary participation in a wellness program or in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity such as blood donation, physical examination, flu shot, exercise class, racquetball, or baseball.

(iv)The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption (whether bought on the employer's premises or brought in). For example, if the employee is injured by choking on a sandwich while in the employer's establishment, the case would not be considered work-related.

Note: 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.

(v)The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee doing personal tasks (unrelated to their employment) at the establishment outside of the employee's assigned working hours.

(vi)The injury or illness is solely the result of personal grooming, self medication for a non-work-related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted.

(vii)The injury or illness is caused by a motor vehicle accident and occurs on a company parking lot or company access road while the employee is commuting to or from work.

(viii)The illness is the common cold or flu (Note: contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, hepatitis A, or plague are considered work-related if the employee is infected at work).

(ix)The illness is a mental illness. Mental illness will not be considered work-related unless the employee voluntarily provides the employer with an opinion from a physician or other licensed health care professional with appropriate training and experience (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, etc.) stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work-related.