Officially, Work from Home Could Count as 'Days Away'

In a Letter of Interpretation posted to its Web site last week, OSHA clarifies several recordkeeping scenarios regarding days away from work, restricted work activity, and work-relatedness. In one scenario, the agency addresses whether or not days that an injured employee is performing clerical services for the company from her home (as a condition of her medical restriction) must be treated as restricted work activity or days-away-from work. OSHA says that, assuming the employee does not work from home as part of her normal work schedule, the case should be recorded as days away from work.

In the scenario, the employer has made the determination that the employee cannot work in the office, but allows her to work from home while she recovers from surgery. In other words, OSHA says, the employer has made a decision that the employee needs days away (from the office) in order to recover from a work-related injury. However, the answer would be different if the employee's normal work schedule includes one or more work days at home, OSHA says.

The LOI also addresses recordkeeping scenarios regarding an injury to an employee requiring medical treatment after inadvertently slamming the car door on his finger in a company parking lot, an injured employee who subsequently retires, and an injured employee on restricted work duty who is later terminated.

Keith Goddard, director of the agency's Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis, wrote the LOI dated Aug. 26 in response to a request for guidance dated March 19. OSHA posted the LOI Sept. 17. To read it in its entirety, go to www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=27154.

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