Updated OSHA Guidance: Recording Workplace Cases of COVID-19
Per its previous directive, COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing work-related duties. However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if ALL of the following are met:
- The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see CDC information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19);
- 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 (e.g. medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work, etc.).
OSHA’s April 10 guidance recognizes the difficulty of an employer (outside of the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations and correctional institutions) in making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work. Therefore, until further notice, OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements to require employers to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 cases, except where:
- There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related; and
- The evidence was reasonably available to the employer.
Because the COVID-19 virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus continue to be:
- Practice social distancing (staying six feet apart).
- Keep your hands clean.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Minimize ride-sharing.
- Cover your mouth using a cloth face protection or medical mask.
- DO NOT share equipment, cell phones, food or other personal items.
- Disinfect common surfaces frequently.
- Practice proper cough/sneeze etiquette.
- Go home if you feel sick or are running a fever.
- Stay at home in self-quarantine if you are running a fever, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have come in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
- DO NOT return to work until symptom free without use of fever-reducing or symptom-reducing medications for at least 24 hours.