Dispelling some common injury recordkeeping myths

Date Posted: 04/26/2021
Back Injury | Injury & Illness Recordkeeping

Our experts get more questions on the OSHA 300 Log than any other topic. To make sure that your OSHA 300 Log is accurate, we’re dispelling four common misconceptions that have surfaced repeatedly over the years.

True or False? If an injury happened off the job, we don’t have to record it on the 300 Log.

True, unless the injury gets significantly aggravated at work. Significant aggravation of a pre-existing injury occurs when an event or exposure in the work environment requires a change in medical treatment, or requires days away or restrictions that were not previously necessary.

For example, suppose a worker injured his back at home and was given a prescription, but performed all duties on the job. He then further injured his back at work and required restrictions; that could be a significant aggravation that requires recording the case on the 300 Log.

True or False? If workers’ compensation denies the claim, we don’t have to list it on the 300 Log.

False. Workers’ compensation and OSHA apply different definitions for “work-related” injuries. An injury may be denied workers’ compensation because it was not work-related under that law’s definition, but it could be work-related (and recordable) under OSHA’s definition.

The reverse could also be true, where an injury is not recordable on the 300 Log, but falls under workers’ compensation. Each injury must be evaluated under each definition.

True or False? Bee stings or animal bites that happen on the job are not work-related.

False. Any injury that occurs in the work environment is presumed to be work-related, including things like an employee stung by a wasp while landscaping. If that case also results in medical treatment (maybe the employee has an allergic reaction), the incident will be recordable. The same standard applies to stay dog bites, or even contracting Lyme disease from a tick.

True or False? If an employee gets injured during a personal activity on a lunch break, the case is not work-related.

Partially true, depending on the activity. OSHA exempts injuries caused by voluntary participation in a wellness program, medical activity, or recreational activity (like exercising or playing a game). Injuries from other personal activities could be work-related, however.

For example, OSHA ruled that an employee who accidentally cut himself while sharpening a pocket knife during a lunch break had a work-related injury. Although OSHA exempts injuries resulting from personal tasks outside of assigned working hours, lunch breaks are considered to be within assigned working hours, so that exception did not apply to the pocket knife incident.

How Safety Management Suite Can Help

Creating and maintaining an accurate OSHA 300 Log can be challenging. The J. J. Keller® SAFETY MANAGEMENT SUITE Incident Tracking tool helps you list all recordable cases and easily update the entries if conditions change. If you aren’t sure whether a case is recordable, the tool has an easy-to-use recordable incident wizard or you can also send your questions to the Expert Help and get a response within one business day.

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