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First Aid vs. Medical Treatment

Chapter 7. Division of Labor Statistics and Research.

Subchapter 1. Occupational Injury and Illness Reports and Records

Article 2. Employer Records of Occupational Injury or Illness

If a work-related injury results in “Medical Treatment” beyond first aid, employers MUST record it to California State/OSHA.

What is the definition of "Medical Treatment"?

“Medical Treatment” means the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder.


What is “first aid”?
  • Using non-prescription medications at nonprescription strength

  • Administering tetanus immunizations

  • Cleaning, flushing, or soaking wounds on the skin surface

  • Using wound coverings, such as bandages, Band-Aids, gauze pads, etc., or using steristrips or butterfly bandages (Other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc are considered medical treatment)

  • Using hot and cold therapy

  • Using any totally non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc (devices with rigid stays and other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment)

  • Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an incident victim (splints, slings, neck collars or back boards)

  • Drilling a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluids from blisters

  • Using eye patches

  • Using simple irrigation or a cotton swab to remove foreign bodies not embedded in or adhered to the eye.

  • Using irrigation, tweezers, cotton swab or other simple means to remove splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye

  • Using finger guards

  • Using massages (Physical therapy or chiropractic treatment care is considered medical treatment)

  • Drinking fluids to relieve heat stress

The administration of a tetanus or booster shot, BY ITSELF, is not considered medical treatment. However, injuries requiring tetanus shot may be recordable for other reasons.

Are any other procedures included in first aid?

No; this is a complete list of all treatments considered first aid purposes of Article 2.

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