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Test Your Record Keeping Skills (Part 3)

How did you do last week? Time to brush up on your work relatedness rules?

This week's quiz focuses on new cases. Only new cases of injury or illness must be recorded on the OSHA log. OSHA states that an employer must consider an illness or injury to be a new case if: (1) The employee has not previously experienced a recorded injury or illness of the same type that affects the same part of the body, or (2) The employee previously experienced a recorded injury or illness of the same type that affected the same part of the body but had recovered completely (all signs and symptoms had disappeared) from the previous injury or illness and an event or exposure in the work environment caused the signs or symptoms to reappear.

Are the following new cases?

(1) Arnold Assembly-Worker catches his perfectly healthy hand in the conveyor line breaking three fingers.

(2) Arnold Assembly-Worker has asthma. His work station is located near the end of the facility where the quality control division performs testing of the Company's product. On one particular day the quality control testing resulted in extremely high levels of chemical irritants being released into the air. Arnold suffers an asthma attack as a result.

(3) Two months ago Arnold Assembly-Worker strained his right wrist which required some time off. The Company appropriately recorded it in the 300 log. Arnold has returned to work and according to his physician is healing nicely, but is still completing his physical therapy and has some work restrictions. Arnold is lifting a box that was supposed to be empty but ended up had product in it and exceeded his lifting restrictions. He complained his wrist hurt badly and missed two days of work as a result after seeing his physician.

(4) Six months ago Arnold Assembly-Worker strained his right wrist which required some time off. The Company appropriately recorded it in the 300 log. Arnold has returned to work and according to his physician is fully recovered. He has had no problems with his wrist since that time. Arnold is lifting a box that was supposed to be empty but ended up had product in it. He complained his same wrist hurt badly and missed two days of work as a result after seeing his physician.

Answer Key:

(1) Yes. The employee has not previously experienced a recorded injury or illness of the same type that affects the same part of the body.

(2) Yes, even though Arnold is a known asthma suffer, because the episode or recurrence was caused by a specific event or exposure in the workplace, the incident must be treated as a new case.

(3) No. Arnold has re-aggravated his injury from two months ago as it had yet to fully heal.

(4) Most likely. The employee previously experienced a recorded injury or illness of the same type that affected the same part of the body but had recovered completely (all signs and symptoms had disappeared and doctor stated he had fully recovered) from the previous injury or illness and a new event or exposure in the work environment caused the signs or symptoms to reappear.

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