SEMA eNews Vol. 23, No. 16, April 16, 2020

OSHA Provides Guidance to Employers on Recording COVID-19 Events

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance on whether employers are required to record COVID-19 cases in their 300 Logs used to report occupational injuries and illnesses. COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. OSHA has noted that COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19, if:

  • The case is a tested-positive confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • The case is “work-related,” which is defined as an event or exposure that either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness.
  • The case involves one or more of the following: death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness.

Since workers should remain away from work if they have tested positive for COVID-19, the test result would be a recordable event if the illness was “work-related.” OSHA acknowledges that employers “may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work.” While there is still an obligation to track any cases in the workplace, OSHA will not enforce its recording requirements unless:

  • There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related. This could include, for example, a number of cases developing among workers who work closely together without an alternative explanation.
  • The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. For purposes of this memorandum, examples of reasonably available evidence include information given to the employer by employees, as well as information that an employer learns regarding its employees’ health and safety in the ordinary course of managing its business and employees.

SEMA has compiled additional information about COVID-19 on its website.  

Questions? Contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

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