Legal Update: Kinesio Tape & Recordkeeping

I found two interesting news items in the March 2015 Issue of Safety and Health from the National Safety Council.

The first is a new letter of interpretation in regards to the use of Kinesio Tape. The interpretation includes kinesio tape as medical treatment, therefore a recordable when used. Many companies use kinesio tape for the treatment of minor sprains and strains where repetitive motion issues are present. Many athletes use the material to help lessen the strain on joints while competing. In the case of workplace usage, many times the very nature of the work allows for the term “industrial athletes” as the performance is sustained motion. The use of kinesio tape could have applied by OTs or PTs under the guise of prevention. It seems that due to this interpretation, sites may discontinue the use. On one hand, this was a tool offered to workers to help them perform with less pain on the job. They will lose free access to this assistance. This should, though, make companies get more aggressive in the prevent of repetitive motion injuries even though there are no OSHA regulations for guidance. Is the intent to prevent a non-regulation? Maybe. I will restate an item that becomes a common theme across my blog: this change only matters to those who will take time to find it, read it, and use it. The safety profession has much to improve on from that aspect of finding qualified individuals. Some in the safety world still debate the idea of repetitive motion injuries as work related. Just for the record, I am not one of those.

The next piece of information is in regards to legislation to change the way employers record contractors in the workplace. The change would be that the site in which the worker is injured would record the injury or illness. The way the log works now is that the company that directly supervises the employee records the injury or illness. I am doubtful that this legislation will pass through. A big reason that companies subcontract work where it is not directly supervised is to reduce risk on many fronts, not just the OSHA log. I do feel that this simplifies the process of “who’s job is it” when it comes to recording the injury. This will be an interesting bill to watch, especially for comments. I expect there will be many for and against, and the arguments will be compelling. I really have to wonder, though, will this change make a dramatic change in the prevention of workplace injuries or is it just another way of tracking a lagging indicator?

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