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Fainting at the Sight of Blood—Is It Recordable?

Posted on 11/9/2015 by Roger Marks

OSHA issued two new letters of interpretation recently that clarify certain elements of the workplace injury and illness reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Injury Reporting for Temporary Employees

The first interpretation letter addresses recording of injury and illness for temporary or contingent workers. In essence, the letter explores responsibilities shared by the employer and the staffing agency that fills personnel requests and places temp workers in jobs. Often, staffing agencies perform a majority of human resource functions for contingent workers: approving time off, compensation and benefits, corrective action/discipline, drug screening, etc.

Workplace injury draws blood


According to the OSHA interpretation, the entity that provides “day-to-day supervision” of employees is responsible for recording injuries. If it’s the employer, not the staffing agency, who supervises the “details, means, methods, and process by which the work is to be performed,” then it is the employer—not the staffing agency—who is responsible for recording on-the-job injuries and illness.

Read the full OSHA interpretation letter here.

Is It Recordable? Fainting at the Sight of Blood

The second letter released by OSHA addresses a specific workplace scenario in which an employee lost consciousness after cutting himself on the job and seeing his own blood.

OSHA regulations at 29 CFR 1904.7(b)(1)(v) require work-related injuries or illnesses to be recorded if they result in loss of consciousness. In this case, the employer requested clarification from OSHA on the exception in 29 CFR 1904.5(b)(2)(ii), which allows an employer to exclude from injury reporting “cases that involve signs and symptoms that surface at work but result from a non-work-related event or exposure that occurs outside the work environment.”

Even though the injury did not directly cause the worker to faint, because the loss of consciousness was related to the injury, the incident is recordable and should be included on the employer’s OSHA log. As OSHA puts it, “But for the work-related laceration, the employee would not have seen his own blood and would not have fainted. Therefore, the exception... does not apply.”

Read the full OSHA interpretation letter here.

Understanding the OSHA injury recordkeeping and reporting rules is a crucial responsibility for employers. New recording and recordkeeping rules went into effect on January 1 this year.

In July, OSHA proposed a new rule that clarifies the Administration’s policy regarding failure to report injuries. The proposed rule will include language that makes clearer the ongoing nature of reporting and recordkeeping violations. Even if an employer fails to record an injury in a timely fashion, the employer must still record it eventually or face fines assessed per day, per violation.

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