OSHA Backtracks on Recordability of COVID-19

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will not enforce recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19 in most industries in places where there is ongoing community transmission, according to a memo released April 10th.

This updated guidance will not apply to health care employers, emergency response organizations or correctional institutions, which are still required to make work-relatedness determinations of COVID-19 acquisitions.

This announcement reverses previous guidance provided by the agency in March reminding employers that COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, unlike the flu or common cold, would be considered a recordable injury.

The agency said in the update it would only enforce the recordability of COVID-19 for non-frontline employers if there is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related without an alternative explanation and the evidence was reasonably evident to the employer.

The memo stated that OSHA was exercising “its enforcement discretion in order to provide certainty to the regulated community” and that the change would enable employers to focus on implementing good hygiene practices rather than “making difficult work-relatedness decisions.”

Non-exempt employers — first responders and those in health care and corrections — must record on their OSHA 300 logs positive cases of COVID-19 likely to have been acquired on the job that results in death, days away from work, restricted work or medical treatment beyond first aid.

If you have questions regarding this memo, please contact the author of this alert or your Butzel Long attorney.

Eric Flessland

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