Question: A maintenance employee is doing some of his regular landscaping duties around the edge of a company’s property trimming bushes. Some of the bushes have thorns and one of the limb’s thorns catches the employee on the inside of his forearm. The employee can see the thorn poking out of his skin, so he removes it and goes about the rest of his workday. Days later, his forearm is red and swollen. He reports the injury and is seen by a doctor that extracts a small piece of the thorn that was left behind. The doctor prescribes the employee antibiotics to fight the infection. Is it recordable?
Answer: YES. Remember, OSHA presumes work-relatedness in the work environment. Even though the employee could just as easily pick up a thorn prick outside of work, the incident occurred on the job. The antibiotics were prescription strength, making this incident recordable. 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)(3) How do I handle a case if it is not obvious whether the precipitating event or exposure occurred in the work environment or occurred away from work? In these situations, you must evaluate the employee's work duties and environment to decide whether or not one or more events or exposures in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition. 1904.7(b)(5)(ii)(A) [First aid means the following:] 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);