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Fainting is Recordable Even If Caused by Non-Recordable Event

By Tressi L. Cordaro
  • November 20, 2015

Fainting is recordable under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s injury reporting rules, even if the loss-of-consciousness is due to a non-recordable injury incurred at work, the agency said in an interpretation letter to a West Virginia retailer.

The retailer’s inquiry described an employee who had scratched his index finger on a vinyl saw clamp at work. As a coworker began to apply a Band-Aid to the area, the injured employee observed a small amount of blood on his finger, became light-headed and fainted. Upon regaining consciousness, he explained he had fainted because he cannot tolerate the sight of blood. No additional injury occurred and no other treatment was necessary.

The employer, Simonton Windows & Doors of Parkersburg, asked OSHA if the incident had to be recorded on the OSHA 300 form, known as the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.

The reply from the head of OSHA’s Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management, Amanda Edens, was an unequivocal “Yes.” Referencing OSHA’s injury and illness reporting and recording rule at 29 CFR § 1904.7(b)(6), she noted that employers must record a work-related injury or illness if a worker becomes unconscious, regardless of how long the employee remains unconscious.

“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,” Edens said.

“[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,” she concluded.

Besides loss of consciousness, general recording criteria under the rule include death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, and medical treatment beyond first aid.

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