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FAQ's for January 2005

14300.2 Partial exemption for establishments in certain industries

Question

Do professional sports teams qualify for the partial industry exemption in section 14300.2?

Answer
No. Only those industry classifications listed in Appendix A to Section 14300.2 qualify for the partial industry exemption. Professional sports teams are classified under Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code 794, which is not one of the listed exempt classifications.

14300.5 Determination of work-relatedness


Question

How does Cal/OSHA define a "company parking lot" for purposes of Recordkeeping?

Answer
Company parking lots are part of the employer's premises and therefore part of the establishment. These areas are under the control of the employer, i.e. those parking areas where the employer can limit access (such as parking lots limited to the employer's employees and visitors). On the other hand, a parking area where the employer does not have control (such as a parking lot outside of a building shared by different employers, or a public parking area like those found at a mall or beneath a multi-employer office building) would not be considered part of the employers establishment (except for the owner of the building or mall), and therefore not a company parking lot for purposes of Cal/OSHA recordkeeping.


Question

An employee experienced an injury or illness in the work environment before they had "clocked in" for the day. Is the case considered work related even if that employee was not officially "on the clock" for pay purposes?

Answer
Yes. For purposes of Cal/OSHA recordkeeping injuries and illnesses occurring in the work environment are considered work-related. Punching in and out with a time clock (or signing in and out) does not affect the outcome for determining work-relatedness. If the employee experienced a work-related injury or illness, and it meets one or more of the general recording criteria under section 14300.7, it must be entered on the employer's Cal/OSHA 300 log.


Question

Is work-related stress recordable as a mental illness case?

Answer
Mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety disorder, that have work-related stress as a contributing factor, are recordable if the employee voluntarily provides the employer with an opinion from a physician or other licensed health care professional with appropriate training and experience (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, etc.) stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work-related, and the case meets one or more of the general recording criteria. See sections 14300.5(b)(2) and 14300.7.


Question

If an employee dies or is injured or infected as a result of terrorist attacks, should it be recorded on the Cal/OSHA Injury and Illness Log? Should it be reported to Cal/OSHA?

Answer
Yes, injuries and illnesses that result from a terrorist event or exposure in the work environment are considered work-related for Cal/OSHA recordkeeping purposes. Cal/OSHA does not provide an exclusion for violence-related injury and illness cases, including injuries and illnesses resulting from terrorist attacks.

All employers, including those partially exempted by reason of size or industry classification, must report to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health any workplace incident that results in a serious injury, illness, or death, as required at Title 8 Section 342. Failure to report serious injury, illness, or fatality within 8 hours can result in a minimum civil penalty of $5,000.

14300.7 General recording criteria


Question

If a physician or other licensed health care professional recommends medical treatment, days away from work or restricted work activity as a result of a work-related injury or illness can the employer decline to record the case based on a contemporaneous second provider's opinion that the recommended medical treatment, days away from work or work restriction are unnecessary, if the employer believes the second opinion is more authoritative?

Answer
Yes. However, once medical treatment is provided for a work-related injury or illness, or days away from work or work restriction have occurred, the case is recordable. If there are conflicting contemporaneous recommendations regarding medical treatment, or the need for days away from work or restricted work activity, but the medical treatment is not actually provided and no days away from work or days of work restriction have occurred, the employer may determine which recommendation is the most authoritative and record on that basis. In the case of prescription medications, Cal/OSHA considers that medical treatment is provided once a prescription is issued


Question

Are work-related cases involving chipped or broken teeth recordable?

Answer
Yes, under section 14300.7(b)(7), these cases are considered a significant injury or illness when diagnosed by a physician or other health care professional. Work-related fractures of bones or teeth are recognized as constituting significant diagnoses and, if the condition is work-related, are appropriately recorded at the time of initial diagnosis even if the case does not involve any of the other general recording criteria.


Question

How would the employer record the change on the Cal/OSHA 300 Log for an injury or illness after the injured worker reached the cap of 180 days for restricted work and then was assigned to "days away from work"?

Answer
The employer must check the box that reflects the most severe outcome associated with a given injury or illness. The severity of any case decreases on the log from column G (Death) to column J (Other recordable case). Since days away from work is a more severe outcome than restricted work the employer is required to remove the check initially placed in the box for job transfer or restriction and enter a check in the box for days away from work (column H). Employers are allowed to cap the number of day’s away and/or restricted work/job transfer when a case involves 180 calendar days. For purposes of recordability, the employer would enter 180 days in the "Job transfer or restriction" column and may also enter 1 day in the "Days away from work" column to prevent confusion or computer related problems.


Question

Does the employer have to record a work-related injury and illness, if an employee experiences minor musculoskeletal discomfort, the health care professional determines that the employee is fully able to perform all of his or her routine job functions, but the employer assigns a work restriction to the injured employee?

Answer
A case would not be recorded under section 14300.7(b)(4) if 1) the employee experiences minor musculoskeletal discomfort, and 2) a health care professional determines that the employee is fully able to perform all of his or her routine job functions, and 3) the employer assigns a work restriction to that employee for the purpose of preventing a more serious condition from developing. If a case is or becomes recordable under any other general recording criteria contained in section 14300.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid, a case involving minor musculoskeletal discomfort would be recordable.


Question

Are injuries and illnesses recordable if they occurred during employment, but were not discovered until after the injured or ill employee was terminated or retired?

Answer
These cases are recordable throughout the five-year record retention and updating period contained in section 14300.33. The cases would be recorded on either the log of the year in which the injury or illness occurred or the last date of employment.


Question

If an employee leaves the company after experiencing a work-related injury or illness that results in days away from work and/or days of restricted work/job transfer how would an employer record the case?

Answer
If the employee leaves the company for some reason(s) unrelated to the injury or illness, section 14300.7(b)(3)(H) of the rule allows the employer to stop counting days away from work or days of restriction/job transfer. In order to stop a count the employer must first have a count to stop. Thus, the employer must count at least one day away from work or day of restriction/job transfer on the Cal/OSHA 300 Log. If the employee leaves the company for some reason(s) related to the injury or illness, section 14300.7(b)(3)(H) of the rule directs the employer to make an estimate of the count of days away from work or days of restriction/job transfer expected for the particular type of case.


Question

If an employee has an adverse reaction to a smallpox vaccination; is it recordable under Cal/OSHA's recordkeeping rule?

Answer
Yee has an adverse reaction to a smallpox vaccination, the reaction is recordable if it is work related (see 14300.5) and meets the general recording criteria contained in 14300.7. A reaction caused by a smallpox vaccination is work related if the vaccination was necessary to enable the employee to perform his or her work duties. Such a reaction is work-related even though the employee was not required to receive it, if the vaccine was provided by the employer to protect the employee against exposure to smallpox in the work environment. For example, if a health care employer establishes a program to vaccinate employees who may be involved in treating people suffering from the effects of a smallpox outbreak, reactions to the vaccine would be work related. The same principle applies to adverse reactions among emergency response workers whose duties may cause them to be exposed to smallpox. The vaccinations in this circumstance are analogous to inoculations given to employees to immunize them from diseases to which they may be exposed to in the course of work-related overseas travel.


Question

An employee has a work-related shoulder injury resulting in days of restricted work activity. While working on restricted duty, the employee sustains a foot injury which results in a different work restriction. How would the employer record these cases?

Answer
For purposes of Cal/OSHA recordkeeping the employer would stop the count of the days of restricted work activity due to the first case, the shoulder injury, and enter the foot injury as a new case and record the number of restricted work days. If the restriction related to the second case, the foot injury, is lifted and the employee is still subject to the restriction related to their shoulder injury, the employer must resume the count of days of restricted work activity for that case.


Question

An employee is provided antibiotics for anthrax, although the employee does not test positive for exposure/infection. Is this a recordable event on the Cal/OSHA log?

Answer
No. A case must involve a death, injury, or illness to be recordable. A case involving an employee who does not test positive for exposure/infection would not be recordable because the employee is not injured or ill.


Question

An employee tests positive for anthrax exposure/infection and is provided antibiotics. Is this a recordable event on the Cal/OSHA log?

Answer
Yes. Under the most recent Recordkeeping requirements, a work-related anthrax exposure/infection coupled with administration of antibiotics or other medical treatment must be recorded on the log.


Question

If an employee suffers a Standard Threshold Shift (STS) in only one ear, may the employer revise the baselines for both ears?

Answer
No. A Standard Threshold Shift, or STS, is defined as a change in hearing threshold, relative to the baseline audiogram for that employee, of an average of 10 decibels (dB) or more at 2000, 3000, and 4000 hertz (Hz) in one or both ears. The employer is permitted only to revise the baseline in the ear where the employee suffered an STS change in hearing threshold.


Question

Which baseline is used to determine if a recordable Standard Threshold Shift (STS) has occurred this year?

Answer
Employers should use the same baseline that they would use to comply with Cal/OSHA's Noise Standard. If the employer chose to revise an employee's baseline due to a previous STS, then the employer would use the same revised baseline when determining recordability under section 14300.10 of the recordkeeping regulation.


Question

If an employee experienced a recordable hearing loss case, where would the employer record the case on the Cal/OSHA 300 Log?

Answer
Prior to 2004, employers should record work-related hearing loss cases according to the instructions included with the Recordkeeping Forms. If the loss is associated with an event, such as acoustic trauma (e.g., an explosion), it would be recorded as an injury with a check mark in column (M)(1). If the loss is not an injury, it would be recorded as an illness, with a check mark in the all other illness column. Beginning in January 2004, employers must record all hearing loss cases in the separate hearing loss column (M)(5).

14300.29 - Forms.


Question

Since the new system proposes to do away with the distinction between injuries and illnesses, is there guidance on how to classify cases to complete column M on the Cal/OSHA 300 Log?

Answer
An injury or illness is an abnormal condition or disorder. Employers should look at the examples of injuries and illnesses in the "Classifying Injuries and Classifying Illnesses" section of the Recordkeeping Forms Package for guidance. If still unsure about the classification, employers could use the longstanding distinction between injuries that result from instantaneous events or those from exposures in the work environment. Cases resulting from anything other than an instantaneous event or exposure are considered illnesses.

14300.32 - Annual summary.


Question

If an employer has no recordable cases for the year, is a Cal/OSHA 300-A, Annual Summary, still required to be completed, certified and posted?

Answer
Yes. After the end of the year, employers must review the Log to verify its accuracy, summarize the 300 Log information on the 300A summary form, and certify the summary (a company executive must sign the certification). This information must then be posted for three months, from February 1 to April 30.


Question

If employers electronically post the Cal/OSHA 300-A Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses, are they in compliance with the posting requirements of 14300.32 (b) (5)?

Answer
No. The recordkeeping rule allows all forms to be kept on computer equipment or at an alternate location, as long as the employer can produce the data when needed. Section 14300.32 (b) (5), requires employers to post a copy of the Annual Summary in each establishment, where notices are normally posted, no later than February 1 of the year following the year covered by the records and kept in place until April 30. Only the Cal/OSHA 300-A Summary form should be posted.

14300.35 - Employee Involvement.


Question

Do I have to give my employees and their representative's access to the Cal/OSHA injury and illness records?

Answer
Yes, your employees, former employees, their personal representatives, and their authorized employee representatives have the right to access the Cal/OSHA 300 Log Form and the Cal/OSHA 300-A Summary Form. The employer must give the requester a copy of the Cal/OSHA 300 Form and the Cal/OSHA 300-A Form by the end of the next business day. In addition, employees and their representatives have the right to access the Cal/OSHA 301 Incident Form with some limitations, in section 14300.35(b)(2) of the recordkeeping regulation.


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