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Q75 - Punctured Ear Drum

Question: 

An employee working in a rock quarry suffers a fall into rocky debris. Blood is coming from several wounds on his head, but none of the wounds seem significant. In fact, the employee is denying they are hurt, shaking off the fall and acting tough. Out of precaution, he is examined by an occupational health physician who discovers much blood coming from a punctured ear drum. Is it recordable?


Answer:

YES. OSHA considers a punctured ear drum to be a significant injury.

1904.7(b)(7) What is a "significant" diagnosed injury or illness that is recordable under the general criteria even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness? Work-related cases involving cancer, chronic irreversible disease, a fractured or cracked bone, or a punctured eardrum must always be recorded under the general criteria at the time of diagnosis by a physician or other licensed health care professional. Note to § 1904.7: OSHA believes that most significant injuries and illnesses will result in one of the criteria listed in § 1904.7(a): death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness. However, there are some significant injuries, such as a punctured eardrum or a fractured toe or rib, for which neither medical treatment nor work restrictions may be recommended. In addition, there are some significant progressive diseases, such as byssinosis, silicosis, and some types of cancer, for which medical treatment or work restrictions may not be recommended at the time of diagnosis but are likely to be recommended as the disease progresses. OSHA believes that cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones, and punctured eardrums are generally considered significant injuries and illnesses, and must be recorded at the initial diagnosis even if medical treatment or work restrictions are not recommended, or are postponed, in a particular case.


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