COVID-19 as an OSHA Recordable Illness?

Originally published by the following source: SBC MagazineMarch 31, 2020
by SBCA Staff


OSHA has posted a new directive on its website, “Recording workplace exposures to COVID-19,” where it states:

"COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following are true:

  1. 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);
  2. The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
  3. 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)."

As part of the “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” recognized by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 28, 2020, members of the component manufacturing and framing industries should be concerned with the position OSHA has taken with regard to viewing COVID-19 as a recordable illness.

COVID-19 is a virus and, as such, should be treated identically to the common cold virus/flu virus, per provisions written in 29 CFR Part 1904.5(b)(2)(viii) (i.e., not a recordable illness). The reason to treat COVID-19 in the same manner is because, like the common cold or flu, it is impossible to determine if exposure to COVID-19 is work-related.

Please use the sample letters linked below to communicate on behalf of your company the industry’s position to Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Loren Sweatt. Send the letter to The Honorable Loren Sweatt at, with copies to the individuals listed at the end of the letter, as soon as possible.

Your voice is needed to ensure that common sense prevails and COVID-19 is no longer considered a recordable illness. If you submit a letter, please let us know so that we can track and coordinate the overall advocacy effort by component manufacturers and framers on this issue.

Sample Letters

Download OSHA Component Manufacturer Sample Letter
Download OSHA Framer Sample Letter