Could food poisoning from a company sponsored meal be an OSHA recordable?
Scenario: To celebrate a safety milestone of achieving one million hours worked without an injury, your employer provides a lunch complete with fried chicken, barbequed ribs, hamburgers, and all the trimmings. A few hours later many employees start to exhibit signs of food poisoning. Seventy two of your employees get food poisoning so bad that they must miss the next day of work. Further investigation reveals they received the food poisoning from the potato salad provided by the caterer your company hired for the event.
Question: Do all seventy two of these cases go on your OSHA 300 log as an OSHA recordable with at least one day away from work (DART case)?
Answer: According to OSHA in a note to the exception involving geographical presumption it makes clear that if an employee becomes ill as a result of ingesting food contaminated by workplace contaminants such as lead, or contracts food poisoning from food items provided by the employer, the case would be considered work-related. As a result, if an employee contracts food poisoning from a sandwich brought from home or purchased in the company cafeteria and must take time off to recover, the case is not considered work related. On the other hand, if an employee contracts food poisoning from a meal provided by the employer at a business meeting or company function and takes time off to recover, the case would be considered work related. Food provided or supplied by the employer does not include food purchased by the employee from the company cafeteria, but does include food purchased by the employer from the company cafeteria for business meetings or other company functions.
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