Regulatory Update – OSHA Judge Upholds Fine Against Company for Failing to Record MSD Injury
Last month, an administrative law judge for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) affirmed a $900 penalty against Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc. for failing to record a worker’s musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) on the OSHA 300 log, even though OSHA presented only enough evidence to prove that the employee’s work activities were a cause, but not necessarily the only cause of the injury. OSHA noted in a press release on the decision that Judge Patrick Augustine said that in order to be recordable, “an employee's work activities do not have to be the cause, but rather a cause of injury or illness," and determined that the preponderance of evidence showed the employee's work activities were at least a contributing, if not the sole, cause of the MSD. OSHA noted that this decision is the first to address whether a MSD is work-related under the record-keeping standards as revised in 2001. This case is particularly relevant because of OSHA’s recent efforts to add a column to the OSHA 300 log specifically for employers to record MSDs. NACD filed comments with OSHA in opposition to this proposal last year, and the top objection was the difficulty in determining whether MSDs are work related. The agency recently reopened the rulemaking record on this proposed rule in order to allow interested individuals to comment on issues raised during OSHA and Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy co-sponsored small business teleconferences that took place in April on the issue.