Some road accidents must be recorded

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Injuries that occur during normal attendance have long been considered unreportable in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but some travel accidents can be recorded according to a letter interpreted by OSHA.

Exceptions to the rule

The letter identifies employees’ travel situations, which are an exception to OSHA’s long-standing interpretation that injuries during an employee’s normal return to and from home are not work-related, said Peter Spanos, a lawyer at Taylor English in Atlanta.

“Ordinary commuting under the control of an employee is not a work environment for OSHA purposes,” he said. OSHA’s letter “points out that some employee trips are made either in the interest of the employer or as a condition of employment. Such trips are not considered commuting and are considered a work environment for OSHA purposes.”

Any injuries resulting from the accident during an additional, non-routine return to work and then back home would be work-related and recordable, said Phillip Russell, a lawyer at Ogletree Deakins in Tampa, Florida. it expands the scope of what standards consider to be working, ”he said. “Commuting is not work-related, although the employee must return to work for a reason that is not part of normal commuting.”

Spanos stated that other examples of travel in the interest of the employer or as a condition of employment, which are thus writable, include travel:

  • Carry out the assigned work from the workplace or from home to another place during the working day.
  • During which the employee also performs work, such as telephoning while driving or a passenger.
  • During which the employee entertains or transports customers or other employees.

According to Micah Dickie, a Fisher Philips attorney in Atlanta, injuries that occur while traveling to work, which is mandatory, unplanned or not on the first commute of the day – other than home – are likely to be reported. This would include when employees are called back to the workplace to help in an emergency and when employees are called to work when it has not been planned in advance, such as in the event of a shortage of staff.

The letter does not mention travel outside the city required by the employer. Nevertheless, “according to the reasoning of the letter, such travel can be a work environment if required by the employer,” Spanos said.

The injuries that occur when an employee travels to a restaurant at lunchtime or after business hours cannot be detected unless it is the entertainment of customers or other employees, he added.

Employees are often required to travel between workplaces or to make sales calls. If an employee travels for work, traffic accident injuries should be recorded, said Dan Kaplan, a lawyer at Foley & Lardner in Madison, Wis.

One example is construction supervision, which oversees several workplaces. The superior’s travel between these sites is usually compensable working hours, and any injury during such a trip would need to be recorded in an OSHA 300 employer’s log, he said.

Another example is a door-to-door salesperson or an employer’s product delivery driver. Whenever this employee is involved in remunerated work activities, such as driving to a customer, any injuries during such a trip are recorded, Kaplan noted.

If traveling is a voluntary return to work, even on the same day as another change, injuries during that trip would not be noticeable, Dickie said.

Recordable injury

“The recordability of any injury on your 300 diary is a serious matter,” Dickie said.

While the OSHA 300 is not currently filed by OSHA, employers who have operations with 250 or more employees, and some other smaller employers, must submit an OSHA 300A summary electronically in early March each year, he noted. The Biden administration is close to proposing that large employers file an OSHA 300 and Form 301 each year, Bloomberg said.

OSHA 300A is an annual summary of all recordable occupational injuries and illnesses that have occurred in the company, including the total number of cases, total number of days spent by employees out of work or restrictions, and specific types of injuries and illnesses from the OSHA 300. The OSHA 300A annual summary must be posted in each establishment in a visible place from 1 February to 30 April.

“OSHA implements its site-specific targeting (SST) inspection programs using Form 300A data submitted by the employer, which comes directly from the employer’s 300 logs,” Dickie said. “Historically, SST has been the master plan for site-specific OSHA inspections for non-construction sites with 20 or more employees.”

If an SST-listed employer has not reported any injuries to OSHA, the agency may perform a scheduled facility inspection.

“Employers should be vigilant in ensuring that their OSHA records do not record unnecessary or unreportable injuries because failing to do so unnecessarily increases the number of days spent by the employer, limits or transfers them – DART. This can eventually lead to an increase in OSHA. inspections, “Dickie said. “OSHA always has the right to access the last five records of an OSHA 300 employer. Using this information to potentially expand the scope of an ongoing inspection and a higher rate of recordable injuries may increase employee compensation premiums.”

OSHA will routinely compare DART rates only to employers within the same industry or business to help it identify whether there may be a systemic issue with the employer’s safety and health program, Kaplan said. “When the DART rate far exceeds the industry average, it may indicate a problem that needs attention,” he explained.

However, he said: “Including injuries in the OSHA 300 log usually has no OSHA-related consequences as long as the recording process is performed properly and correctly.”

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