Work-related Injuries

Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy

What is a work-related injury?

The OSHA regulations at 1904.5 define a work-related injury as an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness that causes a need for medical treatment and/or time away from work. The definition of work-relatedness also extends to telecommuting.

Work-relatedness for injuries and illness resulting from events or exposures in the work environment is presumed unless an exemption, found in 1904.5(b)(2), specifically applies. The "work environment" not only includes the place of employment it also includes other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment. This includes employees working at home.

In order for an employee to be able to make a workers' compensation claim and participate in employer-sponsored work conditioning programs at our office, the injury must first not only be classified as work-related but also recordable.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1904.5 - Determination of work-relatedness.

What is a recordable injury or illness?

The work injury or illness is considered recordable if meets the general criteria of OSHA's definition of work-relatedness and it results in:

  • Death.
  • Days away from work.
  • Restricted work activity.
  • Transfer to another job.
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Significant injury or illness diagnosed by a health professional.

...without it being any of the exemptions found in 1904.5(b)(2).

The injury can also be considered recordable, if it meets the following special recording criteria:

  • Needle sticks and sharps injuries
  • Medical removal
  • Occupational hearing loss
  • Tuberculosis

When is an injury or illness that happens at work not considered work-related?

If your injury happens at work but meets any of the following exemptions found in 1904.5(b)(2), it is not considered work-related.

  • The employee is present as a member of the general public rather than as an employee.
  • The injury or illness involves signs or symptoms that surface at work but result solely from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the work environment.
  • Injury or illness occurred as a result of voluntary participation in a wellness program or in a medical, fitness, or recreational activity such as blood donation, physical examination, flu shot, exercise class or recreational sporting activity.
  • Injury occurred while the employee was eating, drinking or preparing food or drink for personal consumption (whether bought on the employer's premises or brought in). However, this exception does not apply if the food is supplied by the company and the employee contracts food poisoning or other illness or the illness is caused by employer-supplied food that is contaminated by workplace contaminants (such as lead).
  • Injury or illness occurred while the employee was performing a personal task outside work hours.
  • Injury or illness occurred as a result of personal grooming, self-medication, or intentional self-infliction.
  • Injury occurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident during the commute to and from work or in the parking lot.
  • The illness is the common cold or flu. However, this exemption does not apply if the employee is infected by contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, hepatitis A, or plague while the employee is at work.
  • The illness is a mental illness, unless the employee voluntarily provides a medical opinion from a physician or other licensed healthcare professional with appropriate training and experience (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, etc.) stating that the employee has a mental illness that is work-related.

Source: Cornell Law School, 29 CFR § 1904.5 - Determination of work-relatedness.

What is a work conditioning program?

Work conditioning programs are ones that often simulate the demands of a given job description. They are designed for employees that suffer from work-related injuries may meet the treatment goals of physical therapy but cannot return to work due to deconditioning (being out of shape).

These programs help employees preparing to return to work:

  • Recover their strength
  • Improve endurance
  • Increase flexibility & mobility
  • Improve cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Personalized interventions are also provided to decrease the odds of re-injury upon return work

Typically, work conditioning programs consist of personalized, full-body, intensive training with a focus on the activities that are similar to the physical demands required by a particular category of employment.

To learn more about our work conditioning program, please give us a call at 203-445-9843.

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