WASHINGTON – Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said.
The agency recently revised its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus when the illness:
- Is confirmed as a coronavirus illness;
- Is work-related as defined by federal rules; and
- Involves one or more of the general recording criteria such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.
“Given the nature of the disease and community spread, however, in many instances it remains difficult to determine whether a coronavirus illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace,” the agency said. “OSHA’s guidance emphasizes that employers must make reasonable efforts, based on the evidence available to the employer, to ascertain whether a particular case of coronavirus is work-related.”
Furthermore, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries are not obligated to record coronavirus cases. However, they need only report work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, OSHA said.
As part of the agency's revised enforcement policies, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces in response to the reopening of non-critical businesses in areas of lower community spread.
“The risk of transmission is lower in specific categories of workplaces, and personal protective equipment potentially needed for inspections is more widely available,” the agency said. “OSHA staff will continue to prioritize COVID-19 inspections and will utilize all enforcement tools as OSHA has historically done.”