Federal agencies Recordkeeping

Employee injured while drunk? It’s probably recordable, OSHA says

OSHA_logo -- Aug 2013

Washington – An on-the-job injury suffered by a drunk employee is likely a recordable case, OSHA states in a new letter of interpretation.

In a scenario presented by an employer, a worker was injured when his hand was caught between two objects. A drug screening administered after the worker received medical treatment showed he was intoxicated, bringing into question whether the incident is recordable considering the employee was self-medicating with alcohol for his non-work-related alcoholism.

In response, OSHA noted that injuries and illnesses are not recordable if the incident is “solely the result” of a number of factors, including self-medication for a condition unrelated to work. However, the scenario described does not meet the exception laid out in the standard, OSHA determined after consulting with agency physicians.

“The intake of alcohol does not treat the disorder of alcoholism,” OSHA wrote in its March 21 response. “Instead, drinking alcohol is a manifestation of the disorder.”

Because the injury was caused by an event at work and meets the general recording criteria, the employer must record the incident, OSHA stated.

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