Work it Out Blog

OSHA Says Employee Fainting at the Sight of Blood from a Work-Related Injury is Recordable

Jan 21, 2016

Fainting at the sight of your own blood can’t be a recordable OSHA event, can it?  OSHA recently ruled that it can be.   The employee was working when he scratched his finger, causing a minor cut.  While a band-aid was being applied, the employee fainted at the sight of his own blood.  He regained consciousness and required no further treatment.

This incident created some confusion as to whether it was a recordable case.  The scratched finger was not recordable as it was a minor injury that did not meet any of the general recording criteria.  However, pursuant to OSHA requirements, any work-related injury that results in a loss of consciousness must be recorded.  The question of whether the fainting was recordable centered on the issue of whether the fainting was work-related.

Generally, work-relatedness is presumed when an injury or illness results from an event or exposure in the work environment.  There are some exceptions.  OHSA allows employers to exclude cases where "signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the work environment.”  Thus, in cases where an employee’s loss of consciousness results solely from a personal health condition, such as epilepsy, diabetes, or narcolepsy, it is not a recordable injury or illness.

In this scenario, OSHA found that the employee’s fainting at the sight of blood was due, in part, to a work-related event.  Had the employee not cut his finger and seen the blood, he would not have fainted.  The loss of consciousness was not solely the result of a non-work-related event or exposure that occurred outside the work environment.  Thus, the employee fainting at the sight of blood from his scratched finger met the general recording criteria and was recordable.

For more information on OSHA recordkeeping requirements, please contact Michelle Reese or your Day Ketterer attorney, at 330-455-0173 or info@dayketterer.com

The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for any purpose. This blog is not intended to present an exhaustive summary of all applicable laws, or to take the place of legal advice.  If you have any questions regarding the law, please contact us for assistance.