OSHA Reversal : Employers Must Record Cases of Employee COVID-19

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its interim guidance regarding recording of COVID-19 occupational illnesses. The May 19 memorandum reverses and rescinds its April 10 guidance which relieved employers for investigating and recording cases of COVID-19 among employees.

Under OSHA’s newest recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and thus employers are responsible for recording cases if:

  1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  2. The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5; and
  3. The case  involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7

An excerpt from OSHA’s website further explains instances where employers are not required to record occupational cases of COVID-19. “Employers, especially small employers, should not be expected to undertake extensive medical inquiries, given employee privacy concerns and most employers’ lack of expertise in this area. If, after good faith inquiry the employer cannot determine whether it is more likely than not that exposure in the workplace played a casual role with respect to a particular case of COVID, the employer does not need to record that COVID-19 illness.”

Read the complete text of OSHA’s revised enforcement guidance for recording cases of COVID-19 here.