Covid-19 and OSHA Reporting and Recording

Until recently, there was no explanation of when a Covid-19-related hospitalization or fatality would qualify as “work related” so as to trigger an employer’s OSHA reporting obligations.

OSHA’s recently updated FAQs explain, with respect to reporting hospitalizations:

Under 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6), employers are only required to report in-patient hospitalizations to OSHA if the hospitalization “occurs within twenty-four (24) hours of the work-related incident.” For cases of COVID-19, the term “incident” means an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace. Therefore, in order to be reportable, an in-patient hospitalization due to COVID-19 must occur within 24 hours of an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 at work. The employer must report such hospitalization within 24 hours of knowing both that the employee has been in-patient hospitalized and that the reason for the hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19. Thus, if an employer learns that an employee was in-patient hospitalized within 24 hours of a work-related incident, and determines afterward that the cause of the in-patient hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19, the case must be reported within 24 hours of that determination.

Here is what OSHA says about reporting Covid-19-related fatalities:

Under 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6), an employer must “report a fatality to OSHA if the fatality occurs within thirty (30) days of the work-related incident.” For cases of COVID-19, the term “incident” means an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace.  Therefore, in order to be reportable, a fatality due to COVID-19 must occur within 30 days of an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 at work.  The employer must report the fatality within eight hours of knowing both that the employee has died, and that the cause of death was a work-related case of COVID-19.  Thus, if an employer learns that an employee died within 30 days of a work-related incident, and determines afterward that the cause of the death was a work-related case of COVID-19, the case must be reported within eight hours of that determination.

Recording:

Employers who are required to keep OSHA injury and illness records must still record work-related confirmed cases of COVID-19, as required by 29 CFR 1904.4(a). OSHA guidance on recording injuries/illnesses related to Covid-19 is here: https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-05-19/revised-enforcement-guidance-recording-cases-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.

All of OSHA’s Covid-19 FAQs are here: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/covid-19-faq.html#general-info

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