Workplace Violence Injuries Deemed Work-Related by OSHA, Including Incidents Occurring Outside the Workplace
Workplace violence incidents can have serious consequences for employees, even if they occur outside of the workplace. In a recent Standard Interpretation Letter, OSHA has clarified that injuries resulting from workplace violence should be recorded, regardless of where the incident takes place. This means that even acts of violence by individuals with no connection to the worksite or employer will be considered work-related. OSHA’s position is that if the incident occurs when an employee is engaged in a work-related task during work hours, it should be recorded. This new interpretation expands the scope of workplace safety and emphasizes the need for employers to take proactive measures to prevent violence in all its forms. For more information on OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements and workplace violence, consult the source linked below.
Full Article: Workplace Violence Injuries Deemed Work-Related by OSHA, Including Incidents Occurring Outside the Workplace
OSHA Declares Workplace Violence Injuries as Work-Related, Even Outside the Workplace
In a recent development aimed at increasing enforcement against workplace violence incidents, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a Standard Interpretation Letter. This letter concludes that injuries resulting from workplace violence are recordable, even if the incident occurs outside of the workplace.
Why is this Important?
OSHA regularly provides responses to public inquiries regarding interpretations of OSHA standards or regulations in the form of letters or memoranda. Typically, OSHA issues dozens of these Standard Interpretation Letters in a calendar year. However, in 2021, OSHA has issued only two such letters, making this recent interpretation all the more significant.
An Unsettling Scenario
In their only Standard Interpretation Letter related to OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements this year, OSHA addressed a specific scenario. The inquiry involved an employee who was involved in an accident while traveling between service calls in a company vehicle, during worktime, and on a public roadway. The accident occurred when the employee was shot by another driver, who went on to steal the employee’s truck and flee the scene. Importantly, the employee did not provoke the other driver and was unaware of the driver’s criminal activities.
Considering the circumstances, OSHA concluded that the injury was presumed to be work-related unless an exception under the standard applied. Pointing to the preamble to the recordkeeping rule, OSHA stated that the work-related “presumption encompasses cases in which an injury or illness results from an event at work that is outside the employer’s control, such as a lightning strike or involves activities that occur at work but that are not directly related to production, such as horseplay.”
No Exclusion for Workplace Violence
A notable aspect of the Standard Interpretation Letter is OSHA’s clear declaration that its recordkeeping regulation does not allow employers to exclude injuries resulting from random acts of violence occurring in the work environment from their recordkeeping reports. This holds true even if the incident takes place outside the worksite, such as on a public highway, an area typically under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation.
Workplace Violence and OSHA’s Stand
OSHA now takes the position that random acts of violence, regardless of the perpetrator’s connection to the worksite or employer (e.g., robbers, active shooters), will be considered work-related. Any injuries resulting from such incidents must be recorded on an employer’s OSHA 300 log. Additionally, if such incidents occur outside the workplace but during work hours while an employee is engaged in a work-related task, OSHA will still deem them work-related.
If you would like more information about OSHA record-keeping, workplace violence, or any related topics, please get in touch with the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.
Summary: Workplace Violence Injuries Deemed Work-Related by OSHA, Including Incidents Occurring Outside the Workplace
OSHA has published a Standard Interpretation Letter stating that injuries resulting from workplace violence are recordable, even if the incident occurs outside of the workplace. This interpretation applies even to random acts of violence carried out by individuals with no connection to the worksite or employer. OSHA’s stance is that if the incident happens when an employee is engaged in a work-related task during work hours, it is considered work-related. Employers must record these injuries on their OSHA 300 log. This clarification comes as OSHA has issued only two Standard Interpretation Letters this year, compared to previous years. For more information, consult the source article.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Frequently Asked Questions about OSHA Declaring Workplace Violence Injuries as Work-Related
1. Why does OSHA consider workplace violence injuries as work-related even when sustained outside the workplace?
According to OSHA, workplace violence is considered as work-related if it occurs while an employee is engaged in work activities or performing work-related duties, regardless of the physical location. OSHA’s goal is to ensure that employees are provided a safe working environment, both inside and outside the workplace.
2. How does OSHA define workplace violence?
OSHA defines workplace violence as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the worksite. This can include incidents involving coworkers, clients, customers, or even strangers.
3. Can workplace violence injuries outside the workplace be covered under workers’ compensation?
In many cases, workplace violence injuries sustained outside the workplace can be covered under workers’ compensation, depending on the specific circumstances. It is essential to consult with your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance provider to determine the eligibility for compensation.
4. What steps can employers take to prevent workplace violence injuries outside the workplace?
Employers can implement various preventive measures to minimize the risks of workplace violence injuries, both within and outside the workplace. Some effective measures include developing strong workplace violence prevention programs, providing employee training on recognizing and reporting potential threats, conducting background checks on employees, ensuring proper security measures are in place, and promoting a culture of mutual respect and open communication.
5. How should employees report workplace violence incidents that occur outside the workplace?
If an employee experiences a workplace violence incident outside the workplace, they should immediately report the incident to their employer or supervisor. Employers should have a clear reporting procedure in place to ensure that incidents are documented accurately and that appropriate actions can be taken to address the situation.
6. Can employers be held liable for workplace violence injuries sustained outside the workplace?
In some cases, employers can be held liable for workplace violence injuries sustained outside the workplace if it can be proven that they failed to take reasonable actions to prevent or address the risks associated with workplace violence. However, liability can vary based on specific circumstances and jurisdiction. It is advisable to consult with legal professionals experienced in labor law to understand the potential liabilities.
7. Are there any specific industries or job roles that are more susceptible to workplace violence incidents outside the workplace?
While workplace violence can occur in any industry or job role, certain sectors, such as healthcare, social services, law enforcement, retail, and transportation, may have a higher risk due to various factors. These can include dealing with potentially volatile or aggressive individuals, working in isolated locations, or handling valuable goods.