BLR's EHS Hotline provides plain language answers to your most pressing questions by our team of in-house subject matter experts

Q&A: When is an injury considered an OSHA recordable injury?

Author: BLR

When is an injury considered an OSHA recordable injury? Is it possible that even though there is a medical visit it may not be a recordable injury?

A work-related injury or illness must be recorded if it results in one or more of the following:

  • Death
  • Days away from work
  • Restricted work or transfer to another job
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid – First Aid List
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional. 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.

Cases are recordable based on the action taken after the injury or the nature of the injury itself. In your question, you raised the question of medical visits. If no action is taken during the medical appointment that results in any of the above, the case is not recordable.

What is “first aid”?

First aid (as referenced above and listed under 29 CFR 1904.7(b)(5)(ii) means the following:

  • Using a non-prescription medication at nonprescription strength;
  • Administering tetanus immunizations (other immunizations, such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine, are considered medical treatment);
  • Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin;
  • Using wound coverings such as bandages, Band-AidsTM, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-StripsTM (other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc., are considered medical treatment);
  • Using hot or cold therapy;
  • Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes);
  • Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.).
  • Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister;
  • Using eye patches;
  • Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab;
  • Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means;
  • Using finger guards;
  • Using massages (physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes); or
  • Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress

What is EHS Hotline?

Subscribers of EHS Hero® get access to our team of in-house subject matter experts. EHS Hotline allows subscribers to submit questions and receive timely, thorough, and plain-language answers from our team of experts—complete with resources and references.

The purpose of EHS Hotline is to help connect workplace employment, safety, and environment questions to the material provided by BLR on its subscriber websites. While the service is defined as providing advice, it is assistance to help bridge the gap between the BLR compliance resources and our client’s workplace issues. It is not a legal opinion or replacement for seeking legal counsel.