OSHA recently relaxed their COVID-19 recordkeeping requirements for employers that are not engaged in health care, emergency response (emergency medical, firefighting, law enforcement) and correctional institution operations. The intent of the amendment to their original position is to help employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces, and mitigate the impact of COVID-19, rather than on making difficult work-relatedness decisions in circumstances where there is community transmission.
OSHA’s original recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19 required all employers to record cases as an illness if the following three criteria are met:
If an employer is not engaged in health care, emergency response (emergency medical, firefighting, and law enforcement services) or correctional institution operations AND the COVID-19 case is confirmed prior to May 26, OSHA will not enforce the recordkeeping requirements except where:
Employers of workers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting, and law enforcement services), and correctional institutions must continue to make work-relatedness determinations pursuant to 29 CFR § 1904.
As of May 26, 2020 OSHA, is rescinding their relaxed recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19 cases and returning to the original set of requirements for all employers. Their May Memorandum provides additional guidance to help employers determine if COVID-19 cases are work related. Due to the difficulty with determining work-relatedness, OSHA compliance officers are exercising discretion when assessing an employers’ efforts in making work-related determinations.
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