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Q53 - Loss of Vision

Question:  An employee is sprayed in the face with a chemical and immediately loses vision. A co-worker rushes him over to the eyewash station where his eyes are continuously flushed for 15 minutes. On the way to the eye doctor, the employee’s vision returns. A doctor examines the eyes and determines the quick response to flush the injured employee’s eyes worked well. The doctor tells the employee to take the rest of the shift off to rest at home with cold wash rags over his eyes 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off until bedtime. The doctor also suggests over the counter Visine eye drops if he experiences any irritation.  The doctor returns the employee to full duty the next shift. Is it recordable?

Answer: NO. Unless hospitalized, loss of vision does not meet OSHA recordable criteria. All other treatment the employee received on the job and from the doctor is considered first aid treatment. The employee was returned to work for his next shift (OSHA lost time is recorded the next work shift after a doctor prescribes days away from work or if prescribed work restrictions cannot be accommodated.)  Interpretation Letter: Questions 4: Does loss of an eye include loss of sight? Response: Loss of an eye is the physical removal of the eye, including enucleation and evisceration. Loss of sight without the removal of the eye is not reportable under the requirements of section 1904.39. A case involving loss of sight that results in the in-patient hospitalization of the worker within 24 hours of the work-related incident is reportable. 1904.7(b)(5)(ii) What is "first aid"? For the purposes of Part 1904, "first aid" means the following: 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(A) Using a non-prescription medication at nonprescription strength (for medications available in both prescription and non-prescription form, a recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional to use a non-prescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes); 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(C) Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin; 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(E) Using hot or cold therapy; 1904.7(b)(3) How do I record a work-related injury or illness that results in days away from work? When an injury or illness involves one or more days away from work, you must record the injury or illness on the OSHA 300 Log with a check mark in the space for cases involving days away and an entry of the number of calendar days away from work in the number of days column. If the employee is out for an extended period of time, you must enter an estimate of the days that the employee will be away, and update the day count when the actual number of days is known. 1904.7(b)(3)(i) Do I count the day on which the injury occurred or the illness began? No, you begin counting days away on the day after the injury occurred or the illness began.



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