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Employers must record injuries to intoxicated workers

South Carolina companies may want to take note of a recent letter ruling issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. The interpretation was provided in answer to a question submitted to the agency by an employer.

The employer had learned that an employee who was injured while working on the job was intoxicated at the time the accident happened. The employer wanted to know if the employee's intoxication counted as an exemption from reporting requirements since the man suffered from alcoholism. Under OSHA regulations, an injury resulting from self-medicating for non-work-related conditions is exempted from recording requirements.

OSHA interpreted drinking alcohol while working differently. Instead of viewing it as self-medicating, the agency views drinking alcohol on the job as a symptom of the illness of alcoholism rather than as self-medicating for it. This means that injuries that happen to employees who are injured while they are intoxicated at work must be recorded by their employers as part of the overall rate of injuries for the company. The agency indicated the same rule applies for workers who use drugs while on the job and then are injured in accidents.

For the most part work accident victims are eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits even if their injuries resulted in whole or in part from their own negligence. These benefits can include reimbursement of medical expenses, the furnishing of medical care and treatment and partial wage replacement. It is not uncommon, however, for an employer or its insurer to mount a challenge to such a claim, and thus having the assistance of an experienced attorney throughout the process may be advisable.

Philpot Law Firm, PA
115 Broadus Ave.
Greenville, SC 29601

Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Phone: 864-990-0226
Phone: 864-990-0226
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