Last week the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued an interpretation letter indicating that fainting may be a recordable event even if the loss of consciousness was due to a non-recordable injury.
In the circumstance leading to the interpretation letter, an employee scratched his finger while at work. While a co-worker applied a band aid to the scratch, the “injured” employee saw his own blood and fainted. The employee explained that he cannot stand the sight of his own blood. He did not require any treatment beyond the band aid no other injury occurred beyond the scratched finger.
The employer asked OSHA if the injury had to be reported on its OSHA 300 form. OSHA responded that it did have to be recorded pursuant to recording rule 29 CFR Section 1904.7(b)(6), requiring employers to record work-related injuries or illnesses if a worker becomes unconscious, regardless of how long the employee remains unconscious.
In its interpretation letter, OSHA stated that:
“The fact that a Band-Aid, which is included on the list of [non-recordable] first aid treatments in section 1904.7(b)(5)(i), was first applied to treat the employee is not relevant in this case…”
“[W]hen the employee fainted, the case met the general recording criteria in section 29 C.F.R. § 1904.7(b)(1)(v) and therefore must be recorded.”
The moral of the story is, you need to record any loss of consciousness related to a work-related injury or illness, even if the underlying work-related injury or illness would not itself need to be recorded.