In a letter of interpretation provided by OSHA, it is likely that a work injury experienced by an intoxicated worker is still recordable. According to the company that requested the ruling, one of its employees injured his hand when it got caught between two pieces of equipment. During the course of an investigation, it was determined that the worker was drunk when the accident happened.
After talking to physicians, OSHA decided that the event was recordable. This is because the fact that the employee was drunk was not the entire reason why the accident happened. The worker was not drinking alcohol to self-medicate as drinking alcohol is a symptom of alcoholism, a disease that was not related to the worker’s employment. As the accident occurred at work and otherwise met the standards for recording, the company was forced to record the incident.
When an employee is injured at work, an employer mayhave to keep detailed records regarding the accident such as how it happened, when it happened and what type of injuries occurred. If the injuries are sufficiently serious, a company may need to record the accident and provide details to OSHA.
Injured workers who are covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance can in most cases be eligible to file a claim for benefits thereunder regardless of whether their negligence was a contributing factor to the accident that led to them being injured. The benefits that are available could include reimbursement of medical expenses, the provision of additional medical care and partial wage replacement. As employers and their insurers often challenge claims that are filed by negligent workers, legal assistance may be advisable.