December 16, 2014
Dear Ms. B***:
Thank you for your recent letter to the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the recordkeeping regulation
contained in 29 CFR Part 1904 â€“ Recording and Reporting Occupational
Injuries and Illnesses. You ask for specific classification of the new
reporting requirements contained under section 1904.39.
Question 1: Please provide the definition of an amputation.
Response: An amputation, for OSHA reporting
purposes, is defined under section 1904.39(b)(11). "An amputation is the
traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part. Amputations
include a part, such as a limb or appendage, that has been severed, cut
off, amputated (either completely or partially); fingertip amputations
with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from
irreparable damage; amputations of body parts that have since been
reattached. Amputations do not include avulsions, enucleations,
deglovings, scalpings, severed ears, or broken or chipped teeth."
Question 2: How do you distinguish between an amputation and an avulsion?
Response: If and when there is a health care
professional's diagnosis available, the employer should rely on that
diagnosis. If the diagnosis is avulsion, the event does not need to be
reported. If the diagnosis is amputation, the event must be reported. If
there is no available diagnosis by a health care professional, the
employer should rely on the definition and examples of amputation
included in the regulatory text of Section 1904.39(b)(11). Examples of
avulsion that do not need to be reported include deglovings, scalpings,
fingernail and toenail removal, eyelid removal, loss of a tooth, and
severed ears. Remember, employers are required to report amputations to
OSHA when they learn that the reportable event occurred. The employer
must report the event when he or she has information that the injury is a
work-related amputation. See, Section 1904.39(b)(8).
Question 3: If an employee loses the very tip of his
finger, would this have to be reported to OSHA within 24 hours of the
work-related event? What if the employee loses any part of the finger
above the first joint?
Response: If the tip of the finger is amputated, the work-related event must be reported. An amputation does not require loss of bone.
Questions 4: Does loss of an eye include loss of sight?
Response: Loss of an eye is the physical removal of
the eye, including enucleation and evisceration. Loss of sight without
the removal of the eye is not reportable under the requirements of
section 1904.39. A case involving loss of sight that results in the
in-patient hospitalization of the worker within 24 hours of the
work-related incident is reportable.
Question 5: If an employee has to have a glass eye after an event, would this be a reportable event?
Response: The reportability of the loss of an eye is
not determined by the type of medical care received to treat the
injury. The physical removal of the eye from the socket as a result of a
work-related event is a reportable event.