Cut on the Job - Is this an OSHA Recordable Injury?

One of our clients contacted us with a question about an injury. Is this a recordable injury? Here is the scenario:

"An employee got poked with syringe when cleaning out a drum. He went to the hospital got blood tested. He got released a hour later to resume duties. No treatment need. "

Injury Recordkeeping Criteria

Is it work related?

The first step is to see if this injury is work related.  It happened while working, but is it covered by any of the exemptions?  These exemptions are:

  1. Present as a member of the general public.
  2. Symptoms due to non-related work activity or exposure.
  3. Voluntary participation in a wellness program.
  4. Eat or drinking.
  5. Personal task outside work hours.
  6. Personal grooming, self medication, or self inflected.
  7. Motor vehicle accident during commute or in the parking lot.
  8. Common cold or flu.
  9. Mental illness, unless employee voluntarily provides a medical opinion.

It happened at work, while performing a work related task, and it is not covered by an exemption. It is definitely work related.

Is it a new case?

This is a new case.

Does it meet the general recording criteria?

We know that it is work related, and it is a new case. Now we much check if it meets the general recording criteria.

  1. Death.
  2. Days away from work.
  3. Restricted work activity.
  4. Transfer to another job.
  5. Medical treatment beyond first aid.
  6. Loss of consciousness.
  7. Significant injury or illness diagnosed by a health professional.

The only one on this list that may apply is the medical treatment beyond first aid.  He received care at the hospital, but was it considered first aid or medical treatment? OSHA considers the use of bandages, gauze, and Band Aids to be first aid.  If the wound need to be closed with sutures, stitches, or staples, this is considered to be medical treatment.

In this case, only bandages were applied, so it was not considered to be medical treatment.  But what about the blood testing?  In 29 CFR 1904.7(b)(5)(i)(B) OSHA states that medical treatment does not include:

 "The conduct of diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays and blood tests..."

So this case does not appear to meet any of the general recording criteria.

Special Recording Criteria

The injury does not qualify as a general case, but do any of the special cases apply?  Here are the special injury and illness recordkeeping cases:

  1. Needlesticks and sharps injuries
  2. Medical removal
  3. Occupational hearing loss
  4. Tuberculosis

The only one that looks like might apply is the needlesticks and sharps injuries.  A look at 29 CFR 1904.8(a) reveals that for it to be a needlestick or sharp case the object must be"

"contaminated with another persons blood or other potentially infectious material."

So this special case does not apply. 

Final Verdict

This does not appear to be a recordable case according to OSHA, and it does not need to be entered into the OSHA 300 Log. However, there is still much to learn from this accident. It should be investigated, and the company should look into  a change of procedures or materials to prevent this from happening again. Next time it could be worse.

 Tools and Resources

OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping E-Law Adviser

OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rules

OSHA Recordkeeping Resource Page

OSHA Recordkeeping Forms

New OSHA Recordkeeping Rule Summary


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