On Friday, April 10, 2020, OSHA issued interim enforcement guidance that provides time-limited exceptions to its recordkeeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) for reporting cases of COVID-19.
Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 provided the case:
- Is confirmed as a COVID-19 illness;
- Is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5;
- Involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.
However, in its latest enforcement guidance memorandum, the agency states that it will not require employers to determine work-relatedness of cases except where: 1) there is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related; and 2) the evidence was reasonably available to the employer.
OSHA notes that employers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting, law enforcement services) and correctional institutions must continue to make work-relatedness determinations pursuant to 29 CFR Part 1904.
"This enforcement policy will help employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces, and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects, rather than on making difficult work-relatedness decisions in circumstances where there is community transmission," the agency states.