Wednesday, May 20, 2020

What are the OSHA recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19 in the workplace?

As we shift to the re-opening phase, check out this new enforcement guidance from OSHA: Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). There's a lot for employers to take in - but, I'd like to highlight the guidance regarding recordkeeping. 

Employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following requirements are met: 
  • The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the CDC; 
  • The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5; and 
  • The case involves one or more of the recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7 (e.g., medical treatment, days away from work).
Now, you're probably asking what in the heck those regulatory provisions mean. You can read 29 CFR § 1904.5 here. It's complicated but the general rule is that employers "must consider an injury or illness to be 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."

The recording criteria under 29 CFR § 1904.7 can be found here. Again. Complicated. But, the general rule is that employers "must consider an injury or illness to meet the general recording criteria, and therefore to be recordable, if it results in any of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness [or] if it involves a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional."

Finally, they have an updated guidance memorandum on this issue: Revised Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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