Must employers record and report to OSHA employee illnesses related to COVID-19?
There is no specific OSHA standard covering COVID-19. However, OSHA recordkeeping requirements mandate that covered employers must record certain work-related injuries and illnesses on their OSHA 300 logs. Ordinarily, a common cold or seasonal flu would not be considered a recordable illness, but a COVID-19 illness could be a recordable illness if the employee is infected as a result of performing work-related duties. A covered employer would be required to report a work-related COVID-19 illness only if ALL of the following criteria are met: (1) the illness has been “confirmed” as COVID-19 by the CDC or CDC-approved laboratory; (2) the work environment caused or contributed to the illness or aggravated a pre-existing illness or injury; and (3) the COVID-19 illness involves one or more of the general OSHA recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g., medical treatment beyond first aid was necessary, employee lost one or more days from work, restricted work duty was necessary, etc.). If an employee suffers a COVID-19 illness solely from an exposure outside of the work environment, it would NOT be work-related and, thus, would not be OSHA-recordable.
OSHA requires employers to report any work-related COVID-19 illness or injury that (1) results in a fatality or (2) results in the in-patient admission of one or more employees into a hospital or clinic for treatment. However, a COVID-19 fatality would not be required to be reported if death from the illness or injury occurs more than 30 days after the work-related COVID-19 exposure. Likewise, if the employee’s in-patient admission to the hospital or clinic for treatment of COVID-19 occurs more than 24 hours after the work-related COVID-19 exposure allegedly took place, the illness would not be required to be reported.
Additional helpful information can be found within OSHA’s “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” at www.osha.gov.
Last updated June 22
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