The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued updated guidance on recording occupational illnesses related to COVID-19. The guidance took effect May 26, 2020 and remains in effect until further notice.
Under federal regulations, employers with more than 10 employees must keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses, unless the business is classified under one of the partially exempt low-hazard industries. However, all employers must report to OSHA work-related injuries and illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee's in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
Under OSHA's recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and thus employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if:
- The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the 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.
OSHA says employers should be taking action to determine whether employee COVID-19 illnesses are work-related and thus recordable. In determining whether an employer has complied with this obligation, OSHA will consider:
- The reasonableness of the investigation. In most circumstances when an employer learns of an employee's COVID-19 illness, the employer may:
- The evidence available. The evidence that a COVID-19 illness was work-related will be considered based on the information reasonably available to the employer at the time it made its work-relatedness determination. If the employer later learns more information related to an employee's COVID-19 illness, then that information would be taken into account as well in determining whether an employer made a reasonable determination.
- The evidence that a COVID-19 illness was contracted at work. Evidence that may weigh in favor of or against work-relatedness includes:
Employers should make a good-faith inquiry about whether COVID-19 cases are work-related, as described above. If the criteria are met, COVID-19 should be coded as a respiratory illness on the OSHA Form 300. Because COVID-19 is an illness, if an employee requests that their name not be entered on the log, the employer must comply. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.