Employers are to investigate whether COVID-19 infections are work-related

OSHA’s guidance, effective May 26, is a change from the agency’s position in April 10 guidance that only employers in the health care industry, emergency response organizations, and correctional institutions would be required to mandate work-relatedness determinations about coronavirus, with some exceptions.

Employers must determine whether employees who have COVID-19 contracted it at work. The new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirement reverses previous guidance.  Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and thus employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19.

To enforce this rule, employers need to investigate if an employee contracted COVID-19 at the workplace and if it is a recordable event.

Under the new guidance, a COVID-19 case must be recorded on the OSHA 300 log if this criteria is met:

  1. A confirmed case of COVID-19
  2. Work-relatedness
  3. Illness resulting in death, days away from work, restricted work or the transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or the loss of consciousness

Note:  Someone who tests positive for coronavirus typically will miss work and meet the third criteria.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act covers most employers. Nonetheless, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low-hazard industries have no recording obligations, and they must report only work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation or the loss of an eye.

Source: http://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-05-19/revised-enforcement-guidance-recording-cases-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19


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