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Q225 - Jalapeño Surprise


On his lunch break, an employee is preparing his lunch. His sandwich is almost complete but he remembers he brought some frozen jalapenos from his garden. He places the plastic container with frozen jalapenos into the microwave, covers them with a paper towel, and begins to heat them. While heating, the jalapenos start the paper and plastic on fire and release plumes of smoke into the office space. In a panic, the employee grabs the container with his hands and tosses it into the sink to extinguish the fire. The capsaicin in the jalapenos and smoke from the plastic causes lung irritation in the employee and 3 other employees who are at their desks. A total of 4 employees including the employee preparing his own lunch receive oxygen from first responders who arrive on scene several minutes later. Is it recordable?


YES and NO. The employee preparing his lunch received oxygen which is considered medical treatment. However, since he was injured preparing his own lunch, it is not considered work-related. The other 3 employees who received oxygen are not exempted and should be counted as medical treatment recordable injuries.

Letter of Interpretation The treatment with oxygen for smoke inhalation is considered medical treatment.

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

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