Employers are not exempt from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s reporting rule for on-the-job injuries linked to alcohol intoxication even though the injured employee’s consumption of alcoholic beverages took place off the job.
In general, OSHA mandates employers to record any workplace injury that requires treatment beyond first aid. However, OSHA’s regulation at Section 1904.5(b)(2)(vi) states, “You are not required to record injuries and illnesses if the injury or illness is solely the result of personal grooming, self-medication for a non-work-related condition, or is intentionally self-inflicted.”
OSHA was asked whether a worker’s “self-medicating with alcohol for his non-work-related condition of alcoholism” qualified for the reporting exemption. Then a post-injury drug test revealed the worker was intoxicated.
OSHA concluded the exception for self-medication does not apply because consuming alcohol “does not treat the disorder of alcoholism. Instead, drinking alcohol is a manifestation of the disorder.”
As a side-note, an employer should contact their Workers’ Compensation Carrier to determine if the employee is injured during or after consuming alcohol would be covered if the employee was injured on-duty.
If you should have any questions, clients should contact your HRI Representative. Non-clients may send their questions to [email protected]