OSHA require related injuries and illnesses related COVID 19

OSHA Recording and Reporting Cases of COVID-19

Are COVID-19 cases recordable under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 300 Logs or do employers need to report cases to OSHA?  OSHA does require certain employers to record on the OSHA 300 Log work-related injuries and illnesses that meet certain severity criteria, as well as complete the OSHA Form 301 (or equivalent) upon the occurrence of these injuries.  OSHA also requires employers to report to OSHA any work-related illness that (1) results in a fatality, or (2) results in the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees.  “In-patient” hospitalization is defined as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.

OSHA has made a determination that COVID-19 should not be excluded from coverage of the rule – like the common cold or the seasonal flu – and, thus, OSHA is considering it an “illness.” However, OSHA has stated that only confirmed cases of COVID-19 should be considered an illness under the rule.  Therefore, if an employee simply comes to work with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (but not a confirmed diagnosis), the recordability analysis would not necessarily be triggered at that time.

When the employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19, it does become recordable. At that point, the employer would need to assess whether the case was “work-related” under the rule and, if so, whether it met the rule’s additional recordability criteria (i.e., resulted in a fatality, days away from work, restricted duty, or medical treatment beyond first aid).

With the current protocols for treating COVD-19, it is likely that for any case that is confirmed, the additional severity criteria may be met, as affected persons are instructed to self-quarantine and stay home.  The primary issue for employers therefore becomes whether a particular case is “work-related.”