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OSHA: Employers must record injuries caused by drinking

Pennsylvania employers are required by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to record injuries that their employees sustain on the job. The regulations that are in place governing the recording requirements for employers do contain exemptions for injuries that happen because an employee was self-medicating while at work. OSHA has answered an employer's question about whether the ecompany had to record an injury that happened while an employee was intoxicated. The employer wondered if drinking while on the job that causes an injury accident was exempted when the employee suffered from alcoholism.

In OSHA's interpretation of the regulation, the agency stated that drinking alcohol was not self-medicating for alcoholism. Instead, the agency said that drinking alcohol is a symptom of the disease rather than a treatment for it. Accordingly, OSHA said that employers must record injury accidents that happen because an employee was drinking on the job or because they were intoxicated at work. OSHA also indicated that injuries that happen because of other activities, such as horseplay at work, not following work procedures or engaging in illegal behavior were also not exempted. The agency said requiring such things to be recorded helps to make other employers aware of certain safety problems that may happen in their own workplaces.

When people are injured on the job, they may be left struggling with substantial medical bills while also being left unable to work, resulting in financial hardship. They may want to have legal assistance when filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits that can cover medical expenses and ongoing treatment costs as well as provide a percentage of wages lost during the recovery period.

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