OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of COVID-19

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Patricia Tsipras

April 13, 2020

On Friday, April 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued interim guidance for enforcing OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements for recording cases of COVID-19.

Employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if the case:

  • is confirmed as a COVID-19 illness;
  • is work-related (as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5, which states, generally, that an injury or illness is work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness); and
  • involves one of more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7 (i.e., it results in any of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness, or a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional).

OSHA recognizes that, in areas where ongoing community transmission exists, certain employers may have difficulty determining whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposure at work.  Therefore, under further notice, OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements to require employers – other than those in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations, and correctional institutions – to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 illnesses, except where (1) objective evidence exists that a COVID-19 illness is work-related; and (2) the evidence reasonably was available to the employer.  Employers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations, and correctional institutions must continue to make work-related determinations.

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