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Employers: Do you know your responsibilities for recording cases of COVID-19?
March 17, 2020 at 2:00 PM

Records fileOSHA requires that covered employers record certain work-related illnesses on their OSHA 300 log. On March 10, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provided guidance on the recording of COVID-19. However, this guidance did not consider three key issues:

  1. The problems employers face to determine where an employee contracted the virus (workplace vs. elsewhere);
  2. The effect this broad policy could have on compensation plans; and
  3. The effect on contractors’ safety ratings for insurance and owners.

Luckily, on March 13, 2020, OSHA provided additional guidance limiting when COVID-19 can be a recordable illness. This new guidance limits COVID-19 to be a recordable illness when the following three criteria are met:

  1. The illness is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (for CDC information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases click here);
  2. The illness is work-related, meaning the employee’s work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition (However, there are situations where an injury or illness occurs in the work environment, but is not work-related — for examples click here); and
  3. The illness results in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job or the illness requires medical treatment beyond first aid.

Finally, this is a good time to remember the following:

  1. In situations where it is not obvious whether the exposure occurred in the work environment, employers must evaluate the employee’s duties and environment to determine whether the exposures in the work environment caused or contributed to the illness.
  2. If an employee is traveling to and from customers, traveling to conduct job tasks, and entertaining or being entertained to discuss and promote the employer’s business at the time of illness occurs, then the illness is still work-related.
  3. OSHA requires employers to report any fatality within eight hours or hospitalization within 24 hours. Additionally, fatalities occurring within 30 days of the work-related accident and in-patient hospitalizations occurring within 24 hours of the work-related incident must be reported to OSHA.

If you have questions about the recording requirements or need to update your injury-reporting policies, our Employment & Labor Practice Group attorneys can help identify and prevent possible OSHA violations.

Link to COVID-19 Resources page

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