5-31-2011; Administrative law judge affirms finding a musculoskeletal disorder should have been recorded on an OSHA 300 Injury and Illness log, despite the fact the employee’s work was not the...

Word-to-the-Wise, Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar was fined by an administrative law judge (ALJ) with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission for failing to record an employee’s epicondylitis on an OSHA 300 Injury and Illness log.


An OSHA Form 300 is a form for employers to record all reportable injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace, where and when they occur, the nature of the case, the name and job title of the employee injured or made sick, and the number of days away from work or on restricted or light duty, if any.


Pursuant to OSHA, employers must record all new cases of work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses if they involve:


• death;

• days away from work;?

• restricted work or transfer to another job;?

• medical treatment beyond first aid;?

• loss of consciousness; or?

• a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional.


Each recordable injury or illness case must be recorded on the OSHA 300 Log and the Form 301 Incident Report within seven calendar days after the employer receives notice that the injury or illness occurred.


Caterpillar argued there was no evidence the employee’s epicondylitis was a “significant injury or illness” related to his work. ALJ  Patrick Augustine disagreed, noting in order to be recordable, “an employee’s work activities do not have to be the cause, but rather a cause of the injury or illness” and determined a preponderance of the evidence demonstrated the employee’s work-activities were at least a contributing, if not the sole, cause of the employee’s epicondylitis (emphasis added).


This decision is the first to address whether a musculoskeletal disorder is work-related under an OSHA record-keeping standard revised in 2001.


This article was researched and written by OSHA recording expert Joseph D’Amato, J.D. If you have any questions or comments, you can reach Joseph via email at jdamato@keefe-law.com or via telephone at (312) 545-7135.