On May 19, OSHA issued revised guidance on work-relatedness determinations (removing the previous differing approaches for healthcare and non-healthcare settings). OSHA now only requires the recording of “confirmed cases”, which require at least one respiratory specimen that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.1
Under OSHA's revised recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness if:
Employers are not expected to undertake extensive medical inquiries
- The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19,
- The case is work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition, and
- The case results in death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness, or the illness is diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional.1
. It is sufficient in most circumstances for the employer, when it learns of an employee's COVID-19 illness, (1) to ask the employee how he believes he contracted the COVID-19 illness; (2) while respecting employee privacy, discuss with the employee his work and out-of-work activities that may have led to the COVID-19 illness; and (3) review the employee's work environment for potential SARS-CoV-2 exposure including other workers in that environment contracting COVID-19 illness.1
An employee's COVID-19 illness is likely work-related if:
An employee's COVID-19 illness is likely not work-related if:
- Several cases develop among workers who work closely together and there is no alternative explanation.
- It is contracted shortly after lengthy, close exposure to a particular customer or coworker who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 and there is no alternative explanation.
- Job duties include having frequent, close exposure to the general public in a locality with ongoing community transmission and there is no alternative explanation.1
Cases need to be recorded if it is more likely than not that exposure in the workplace played a causal role
- Only worker to contract COVID-19 in the vicinity and the job duties do not include having frequent contact with the general public, regardless of the rate of community spread.
- Outside the workplace, worker closely and frequently associates with someone (e.g., a family member, significant other, or close friend) who (1) has COVID-19; (2) is not a coworker, and (3) exposes the employee during the period in which the individual is likely infectious.1
with respect to a particular case of COVID-19.1
OSHA has also provided a reminder that employers need to respond appropriately to protect workers, regardless of whether a case is ultimately determined to be work-related.1
Since OSHA has indicated that the revised guidance is intended to be time-limited they advise frequently checking OSHA's webpage at www.osha.gov/coronavirus