Managing employee work-related injuries can be a challenge; and the moment we hear a medical exam is needed, we fear the worst.
“Will this be an OSHA recordable event?”
Before making that determination, perhaps we should start with OSHA’s basic requirement for recordability, which states: You must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria, and therefore to be recordable, if it results in any of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
“What about diagnostic procedures?”
You may have noticed the recordability criteria makes no mention of diagnostic procedures.
Think about it, would you trust a mechanic to diagnose a problem with your automobile without taking a look under the hood? Of course not.
Likewise, there is no penalty for medical procedures utilized for diagnostic purpose.
For example, Bob the Builder trips and twists his right ankle while working at a job site. Due to the development of localized swelling, he requests a formal medical evaluation, which includes an x-ray of the right ankle, but it is negative for fracture. The employee is instructed to elevate the right foot, apply ice, administer ibuprofen per package instruction, and may continue all regular duties.
Does Bob’s injury meet the criteria for OSHA recordability?
No, the employee’s evaluation and x-rays would be considered diagnostic procedures and therefore would not meet the OSHA recordable criteria.
So the next time you hear an employee may need a medical evaluation for a work-related injury, fuhgeddaboudit, you’re not penalized for diagnostic procedures.
Instead, focus your efforts on the factors you can impact, such as implementing an immediate injury reporting procedure and utilizing vetted OSHA friendly occupational health facilities.
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