A recent interpretation letter by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has refined the definition of a recordable injury under 29 CFR Part 1904 – Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. According to the interpretation, an employee’s self-treatment of wrist pain with a rigid brace qualifies as a reportable injury even if a physician later determines that the brace is acceptable yet unnecessary treatment.

In the scenario at issue in the interpretation, an employee used a wrist brace to treat pain that followed extensive use of a computer. When the employee subsequently consulted a physician, the physician advised that the brace was not needed but recommended that the employee continue to wear the brace if it lessened his wrist pain. Due to the physician’s recommendation, OSHA determined that the employee’s self-treatment was “medical treatment beyond first aid” and thus qualified as a recordable injury.   

ABC will continue to monitor the implications of this interpretation for the construction industry.