One of the general criteria that makes an injury/illness recordable is whether it’s deemed a “new case” (under Section 1904.6). Here’s an overview of the requirements and how to determine if an injury or illness is, in fact, a new case.
An injury or illness is considered a new case under one of 2 conditions. Either:
You must treat each episode as a new case when an employee experiences the signs or symptoms of an injury or illness as a result of an event or exposure in the workplace, e.g., an episode of occupational asthma.
But you don’t need to consider each recurrence of signs or symptoms to be a new case when an employee experiences the signs or symptoms of a chronic work-related illness. You need only record the case once.
OSHA has provided fairly specific guidance on how to determine if an employee has “recovered completely” such as to make signs and symptoms of what she recovered from recordable as a new case.
According to OSHA, an employee has “recovered completely” from a previous injury or illness, when she is fully healed or cured. The employer must use its best judgment, says OSHA, based on factors such as the passage of time since the symptoms last occurred and the physical appearance of the affected part of the body.
Thus, for example, if the signs and symptoms of a previous injury disappear for a day only to reappear the following day, it’s strong evidence the injury hasn’t properly healed. The employer may, but isn’t required to, consult a physician or other licensed health care provider for help.
The OSHA rules require you to follow the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional about whether the case is a new case or recurrence (if you decide to ask a physician or professional).
If you get recommendations from 2 or more physicians or other licensed health care professionals, you must base new case determinations upon the recommendation you think is the most authoritative, best documented or best reasoned if. Factors in making this determination may include whether: