The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released enforcement guidance for recording cases of COVID-19. The guidance is specifically intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis and is in effect until further notice.
The guidance reviews how employers should normally implement applicable rules (found in 29 CFR § 1904) on recording and reporting work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses. Specifically, OSHA stated that COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if:
However, in the guidance OSHA recognizes that due to the extent of transmission of COVID-19, employers may have difficulty determining whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposure at the workplace.
Given the difficulty in determining the source of transmission of COVID-19, for now OSHA will only fully enforce 29 CFR § 1904 for employers of workers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (including emergency medical, firefighting and law enforcement services) and correctional institutions.
As to all other employers, OSHA will now only require them to make the work-relatedness determinations found in 29 CFR § 1904 when:
OSHA states that it has issued this guidance to help employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces, and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects, rather than on making difficult work-relatedness decisions in circumstances where there is community transmission.