An injury sustained while an employee is traveling to or from work may be a recordable event under OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping standards, according to a letter of interpretation dated January 4, 2022,
Under normal circumstances, employers are not required to record injuries that occur while an employee is commuting to or from work. But in some unusual situations, OSHA says, injuries that occur while driving to work are work-related and must be recorded on the employer’s 300 Log.
From the January 4 2022 letter:
Scenario: As part of their normal workday, an employee commutes in his personally-owned vehicle from home to the workplace. At the end of his 8-hour work-shift, the employee commutes from the workplace to his home. Later that same day, there is an emergency at the workplace, and the employee’s supervisor calls him to return to work to assist with resolving the emergency.
The employee starts driving back to the workplace, but is involved in a motor vehicle accident with another car. The accident results in the employee sustaining an injury and hospitalization.
In their response, OSHA reiterates that “during their normal commute between home and work, the employee is not in the work environment, nor is that employee performing a work activity…”
However, OSHA says, Injuries are work-related if they occur while the employee is traveling “in the interest of the employer.” Examples include traveling to and from customer contacts, conducting job tasks, or entertaining clients.
OSHA’s interpretation of the above scenario is that the employee was traveling “in the interest of the employer.”
Since the employee was required to return to the workplace outside of his normal commute, the employee was engaged in a work activity “in the interest of the employer” and was traveling “as a condition of employment.” Accordingly, the resulting injury and hospitalization is work-related and must be recorded on the OSHA 300 log.
While an injury sustained during an employee’s normal commute is not work-related, this incident is recordable because the employee was traveling “outside of his normal commute.”
About 85% of US workers travel to work by car, truck, or van. Police reported nearly seven million traffic accidents in 2019, about two million of which caused injury to one or more people.