OSHA Puts a Hold on Most COVID-19 Illness Reporting

April 13, 2020

Until further notice, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will not be enforcing its illness reporting requirements with regard to COVID-19 cases for most employers.

Under OSHA regulations, COVID-19 is a recordable illness if certain criteria are met.  See our recent e-alert on this. .  However, on April 10, OSHA issued an “enforcement guidance” announcing that for the time being it will not take enforcement action against employers for not making determinations that COVID-19 cases may be work-related, except where:

  1. There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related.  An example would be where a number of cases develop among workers who work closely together without an alternative explanation; and
  1. The evidence was reasonably available to the employer.  Examples include information given to the employer by employees, and information an employer learns regarding the health and safety of its employees in the ordinary course of managing its business and employees.

Also, the recording rules regarding COVID-19 cases will remain in effect for employers of workers in the health care industry, emergency response services, and correctional facilities.

OSHA explains that this temporary policy will help employers focus on implementing good hygiene practices and otherwise mitigating COVID-19 effects, rather than having to make difficult work-relatedness decisions.

The full enforcement guidance may be found here.  Contact a Ruder Ware employment law attorney for questions about this or any other COVID-19 issue.

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