Is COVID-19 a Workplace Illness? OSHA Attempts to Clarify Recordkeeping

OSHA hopes its latest enforcement guidance helps employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects.

OSHA has issued interim guidance for enforcing its recordkeeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) as they relate to recording cases of COVID-19.

Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is considered a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for reporting cases of COVID-19 as workplace injuries and illnesses if the case:

  • Is confirmed as a COVID-19 illness;
  • Is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
  • Involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.

In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, many employers may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work, making accurate injury and illness reporting difficult.

OSHA Won’t Enforce Recordkeeping Requirements

Until further notice, OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements to require these employers to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 cases. Exceptions include: (1) Objective evidence that a COVID-19 case is work-related; and (2) Evidence was reasonably available to the employer. Employers of workers in healthcare, emergency response, and correctional institutions must continue to determine if an illness is work-related based on 29 CFR Part 1904. 

OSHA believes this enforcement policy will provide certainty to the regulated community and help employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects.

For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s COVID-19 webpage.

COVID-19 Resources from Intelex

This entry was posted in Business, Health and Safety, Uncategorized and tagged , , by Sandy Smith. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Global EHSQ Content Lead for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has provided the keynote address for occupational safety and health conferences.

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