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Motor vehicle incidents during commute can be work-related, according to new OSHA interpretation

Some incidents may not meet the "normal commute" exception

Posted February 10, 2022

A new OSHA letter of interpretation (LOI) says that if an employee is required to return to the workplace outside of the normal commute, that’s a work activity “in the interest of the employer,” and is work related, meaning it doesn’t meet the “normal commute” exception.

For purposes of Part 1904, OSHA’s longstanding position is that injuries and illnesses that occur during an employee’s normal commute from home to work, and from work to home, are not work-related and therefore not recordable.

However, the LOI poses a scenario in which the employee had completed his normal commute to and from work for the day and was directed back to the workplace by the employer to assist with a work-related emergency. The employee was involved in a car accident enroute, which resulted in the employee sustaining an injury and hospitalization.

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.

This article was written by Rachel Krubsack of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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