May 17, 2023
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In a previous interpretation letter, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) clarified that an employee’s injury resulting from an act of violence is considered work-related and recordable through a broad approach to determining “work-relatedness” at the time of the injury. Here, the driver of a company vehicle, during working hours and traveling on a public roadway between service calls, neared an intersection where a four-car collision occurred due to a wrong-way driver. The wrong-way driver then shot the company driver and stole their company vehicle, fleeing the scene. There was no evidence the company driver provoked the act of violence in any way.
For purposes of determining whether an event is recordable, an injury is deemed work-related if an event in the work environment either caused or contributed to the injury, subject to limited exception. More specifically, work only needs to be a causal factor to the injury. “Work environment” is defined as “the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment.” A rebuttable “geographic presumption” applies to injuries caused by events that occur in the work environment, and are thus considered work-related. This can include injuries from an event at work that is outside the employer’s control.
In this case, the employee was in a work environment because he was driving a company vehicle and was traveling for work between service calls. Work relatedness requires the employee to be engaged in the interest of the employer as a condition of their employment. OSHA also stated that employers cannot be allowed to exclude random acts of violence from their logs of injuries and illnesses. “The issue is not whether the conditions could have, or should have, been prevented or whether they were controllable, but simply whether they are occupational, i.e., are related to work.” Importantly, recording or reporting a work-related injury, illness, or fatality does not mean that the employer or employee was at fault, that an OSHA rule has been violated, or that the employee is eligible for workers’ compensation or other benefits. Recording a case on the employer’s log only indicates that 1) an injury or illness has occurred; 2) the case is work-related; and 3) the case is non-minor. Applying these factors, OSHA determined the shooting injury was work-related and recordable.
- Review the OSHA interpretation letter.
- Review and audit injury and illness logs for accuracy and compliance.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on recording requirements.
Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2023 ManagEase