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California's Employer Records of Occupational Injury and Illness

List of FAQs || Highlights - 14300.5  || Details - 14300.5 || California Standards-14300.5
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FAQs

14300.5 - Determination of Work - Relatedness

Question 
What is the "work environment"?

Answer 
The work environment is "the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment".  The work environment includes:
  • physical locations, and
  • equipment or materials used by the employee during the
    course of his or her work.
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Question 
Are there situations where an injury or illness occurs in the work environment, but is not considered work-related and does not have to be recorded?

Answer 
Yes, under one of the following exceptions:
  • At the time of the injury or illness, the employee was present in the work environment as a member of the general public rather than an employee.
  • The injury or illness involves signs or symptoms that surface at work, but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the work environment.
  • The injury or illness results solely from voluntary participation in a wellness program or in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity such as blood donation, physical examination, flu shot, exercise class, racquetball, or baseball.
  • The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee eating, drinking, or preparing food or drink for personal consumption (whether bought on the employer's premises or brought in). Note: If the employee is made ill by ingesting food, contaminated by workplace contaminants, the case would be considered work-related.
  • The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee doing personal tasks unrelated to their employment at the establishment outside of the employee's assigned working hours.
  • The injury or illness is solely the result of personal grooming, self medication for a non-work related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted.
  • The injury or illness is caused by a motor vehicle accident and occurs on a company parking lot or company access road while the employee is commuting to or from work.
  • The illness is the commo
  • n cold or flu Note: contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, hepatitis A, or plague are considered work-related if the employee is infected at work.
  • Mental illness will not be considered work related unless the employee voluntarily provides the employer with an opinion from a physician or other licensed health care professional with appropriate training and experience (e.g. psychiatrist, psychologist,  psychiatric nurse practitioner) stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work related.

Question 
What are “personal tasks” for the purpose of meeting the exceptions to an injury or illness being work related? 

Answer
“Personal tasks” means any tasks which are unrelated to the performance of the employee’s job. An example may be, if an employee uses a company break area to work on their child’s science project, they are engaged in a personal task.

Question 
An employee sustains a lost time injury while operating a company vehicle on personal business and on his own time, is the case recordable?

Answer
Employee use of the vehicle on personal business falls under the following exception to recording found in Section 14300.5: “The injury or illness is solely the result of an employee doing personal tasks (unrelated to their employment) at the establishment outside of the employee's assigned working hours”.

Question 
What are “assigned working hours” for the purpose of meeting the exceptions to an injury or illness being work related? 

Answer
“Assigned working hours” means those hours that the employee is actually expected to work, including overtime.

Question 
What activities are considered “personal grooming” for the purpose of meeting the exceptions to an injury or illness being work related? 

Answer
Activities directly related to personal hygiene such as :
  • combing and drying hair,
  • brushing teeth,
  • clipping fingernails.

Question 
What activities are not considered “personal grooming” for the purpose of meeting the exceptions to an injury or illness being work related? 

Answer
Bathing or showering at the workplace when necessary because of a workplace exposure is not considered “personal grooming”.

For example, if an employee slips or falls and sustains an injury while showering at work to remove a contaminant from a workplace exposure. 

Question 
An employee drives to work, parks their car in the company parking lot and walks across the lot. In the lot, the employee is struck by a car driven by another employee commuting to work. Are the resulting injuries work-related?

Answer
No. Injuries to either party are not work-related. Injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents occurring on company parking lots while employees are commuting to and from work are not work- related.

Question 
How do I handle a case if it is not obvious whether the precipitating event or exposure occurred in the work environment or occurred away from work?

Answer
In these situations, you must evaluate the employee's work duties and environment to decide if one or more events or exposures in the work environment caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

Question 
How do I know if an event or exposure in the work environment "significantly aggravated" a pre-existing injury or illness?

Answer
A pre-existing injury or illness has been “significantly aggravated” when an event or exposure in the work environment results in:
  • death, provided that the pre-existing injury or illness would likely not have resulted in death but for the occupational event or exposure. 
  • loss of consciousness, provided that the preexisting injury or illness would likely not have resulted in loss of consciousness but for the occupational event or exposure. 
  • one or more days away from work, or
  • days of restricted work, or
  • days of job transfer that otherwise would not have occurred but for occupational event or exposure.
  • medical treatment in a case where no medical treatment was needed before the workplace event or exposure, or 
  • a change in medical treatment was necessitated by the workplace event or exposure.

Question 
If a maintenance employee is cleaning the parking lot or on an access road and is injured while performing his job duties, is the case work-related?

Answer 
Yes, the case is work-related because the employee is injured while conducting company business in the work environment. If the injury meets the general recording criteria of Section 14300.7, the case must be recorded. 

Question 
Which injuries and illnesses are considered pre-existing conditions?

Answer
An injury or illness is a pre-existing condition if it resulted solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurred outside the work environment

Question 
If a pre-existing medical condition causes an incident which results in a subsequent injury is the injury work-related?

Answer
No. Injuries and illnesses that result solely from non-work related events or exposures are not work-related and therefore not recordable.
  • For example, if an employee has an epileptic seizure while at work and falls and breaks their arm, neither the seizure nor the broken arm are recordable. 

Question 
How do I decide whether an injury or illness is work-related if the employee is on travel status at the time it occurs?

Answer
Injuries or illnesses that occur while employees are on travel status are work-related if they occurred while employees are engaged in work activities in the interest of the employer.  Examples include:
  • Travel to & from customer contacts, conducting job tasks. 
  • Entertaining or being entertained if the activity is conducted at the direction of the employer.  
Injuries or illnesses that occur while employees are on travel status are not work-related and do not have to be recorded if the employee :
  • checks into a hotel, motel or another temporary residence for one or more days establishing a "home away from home” and is, 
  • performing activities which are not work related; or
  • commuting between the temporary residence and the job location at a fixed work site; or 
  • on a personal detour from a reasonably direct route of travel.

Question 
How do I decide if a case is work-related when the employee is working at home?

Answer
The injury or illness will be considered work - related if the:
  • employee was performing work for pay or compensation in the home, and
  • injury or illness is directly related to the performance of work rather than to the general home environment or setting.
Examples of injuries or illnesses which would be considered work-related. If the employee:
  • drops a box of work documents and injures his or her foot; or
  • punctures a fingernail by a needle from a sewing machine used to perform garment work at home and it becomes infected requiring medical treatment.
Examples of injuries or illnesses which would not be considered work-related. If the employee:
  • trips on the family dog while rushing to answer a work phone call, or
  • is electrocuted because of faulty home wiring

Question 
How do I decide if an injury is work-related when an employee stays at work after normal work hours to prepare for the next day’s job tasks?

Answer 
A case is work-related, regardless of whether the injury occurred after normal working hours, if an event or exposure in the work environment either : caused or contributed to the injury or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

Question 
Is an injury considered work-related when an employee voluntarily takes work home?

Answer 
No, the injury is only considered work-related if the employee was being paid or compensated for the work, and performing tasks directly related to the job rather than the general home environment

Question 
Are cases of work place violence considered work-related under the new Recordkeeping rule?

Answer 
Yes, however a case would not be considered work-related if it qualifies under one of the exceptions found in 14300.5 (b)(2). For example, if an employee arrives at work early to use a company conference room for a civic club meeting, and is injured by a violent act, the case would not be considered work related. 

List of FAQs || Highlights - 14300.5  || Details - 14300.5 || California Standards-14300.5
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