Q&A: Pinkeye a Recordable Case?

Recently, one of our subscribers asked the following question:

Would pinkeye be considered OSHA recordable if the employee claims they contracted it from a customer while working?

This was our response:

Although OSHA does not specifically mention pink eye in any of its recordkeeping-related materials, you may find the following example given in “Detailed Guidance for OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule” helpful in making the determination as to whether the infection is work-related.

When an employee reports symptoms of a contagious disease that affects the public at large, such as a staphylococcus infection (“staph” infection), the employer must examine the employee’s work duties and environment to determine whether it is more likely than not that one or more events or exposures at work caused or contributed to the condition. If the employer determines that it is unlikely that the precipitating event or exposure occurred in the work environment, the employer would not record the case. In the staph infection example given above, the employer would consider the case work-related, for example, if another employee with whom the newly infected employee had contact at work had been out with a staph infection.

By the way, OSHA does not consider the common cold or flu recordable.