OSHA Recordkeeping: Deciding Whether Treatments are First Aid or Medical

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george pic for news_portrait.jpgOne of the general recordkeeping criteria for recording injuries and illnesses on the OSHA Log 300 is if medical treatment is provided.   Medical treatment defined by OSHA “means the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder."  OSHA specifically states however, that a mere visit to a physician or other licensed health care professional solely for observation or counseling is not medical treatment.  OSHA also specifies that “first aid” is not considered medical treatment and therefore does not have to be recorded.  Some examples of “first aid” as provided by OSHA are as follows:


  • A health care professional using a non-prescription medication at non-prescription strength.
  • The administration of tetanus immunizations (other immunizations such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine are considered medical treatment).
  • Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin.
  • Using wound coverings such as bandages, gauze pads, butterfly bandages (sutures and staples would be considered medical).
  • Using cold or hot therapy.
  • Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (devices with rigid stays  or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes).
  • Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.).
  • Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister.
  • Using eye patches.
  • Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab.
  • Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means.
  • Using finger guards.
  • Using massages (physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes).


It does not matter that first aid is provided by a licensed health care professional, OSHA considers that the treatments listed above are first aid and not medical for recordkeeping purposes.


For additional information regarding OSHA recordkeeping regulations, click here.