OSHA and Intoxicated Workers
Is the intoxicated worker’s injury exempt from reporting ?. . . No!
In a March 21, 2016 letter of interpretation, OSHA determined that an intoxicated worker’s injury is not exempt from reporting under the work-related exception in Section 1904.5(b)(2)(vi).
Section 1904.5(b)(2)(vi) states “You are not required to record injuries and illnesses if the injury or illness is solely the result of personal grooming, self-medication for a non-work-related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted.” The employee sustained an injury when his hand was caught between two objects. After receiving treatment for the injury, the employee was immediately given a post-accident drug test. The results of the drug test indicated the employee was intoxicated from alcohol.
The question presented is whether the injury was exempt from reporting under Section 1904.5(b)(2)(vi), given that the worker was self-medicating with alcohol for his non-work related condition of alcoholism?
In analyzing this question, OSHA consulted with physicians from its Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing. The physicians concluded that the intake of alcohol does not treat the disorder of alcoholism. Instead, drinking alcohol is a manifestation of the disorder. Accordingly, the injury described in the scenario above does not meet the exception in Section 1904.5(b)(2)(vi) for self-medication.
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