OSHA Guidance For Recording COVID-19 Cases
Contributed By BSCAI
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently provided interim guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the requirements of 29 CFR Part 1904 with respect to the recording of occupational illnesses, specifically cases of COVID-19. This guidance will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis.
Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19, if:
- The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
- The case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5; and
- The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7.
In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, employers other than those in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting, and law enforcement services), and correctional institutions may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work. In light of those difficulties, OSHA is exercising its enforcement discretion in order to provide certainty to the regulated community.
Employers of workers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting, and law enforcement services), and correctional institutions must continue to make work-relatedness determinations pursuant to 29 CFR § 1904. Until further notice, however, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR § 1904 to require other employers to make the same work-relatedness determinations, except where:
- There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related. This could include, for example, a number of cases developing among workers who work closely together without an alternative explanation; and
- The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. For purposes of this memorandum, examples of reasonably available evidence include information given to the employer by employees, as well as information that an employer learns regarding its employees’ health and safety in the ordinary course of managing its business and employees.
BSCAI is closely tracking this new enforcement guidance and will relay any additional information from OSHA to members as it becomes available. For questions or comments, contact BSCAI Director of Government Affairs Kevin McKenney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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