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Recording Requirements for Workplace Exposures to COVID-19

On May 19, 2020, OSHA released a memo essentially reversing a previous directive that limited COVID-19 recordkeeping requirements to high-risk employers or those experiencing an outbreak. Beginning today, May 26, the previous memorandum is rescinded and the new memorandum goes into effect.

Under the new directive, all employers are expected to take reasonable steps to determine the work relatedness of COVID-19 cases in the workplace. A confirmed case that meets recordability parameters must now be entered on the OSHA 300 log as a respiratory illness. Privacy requirements around occupational illnesses will remain intact.

Employers are responsible for recording COVID-19 cases if: 

  1.  It is a confirmed case, as defined by the CDC.
  2.  The case is work related, as per OSHA’s determination of work-relatedness
  3.  The case meets any of OSHA’s general recording criteria.

Recognizing what a daunting task this could be, especially for small to mid-sized employers, OSHA has issued guidance instructing compliance officers to exercise discretion in citing violations. The administration has acknowledged that many employers have limited resources or capabilities in making recordability determinations, particularly in light of the widespread community presence of COVID-19. Factors to be taken into consideration include:

  • Reasonable investigation into work-relatedness
  • Evidence available to the employer
  • Evidence that COVID-19 was contracted at work

For more detailed descriptions of these considerations, please read OSHA’s Revised Enforcement Guidance.

At Hellman & Associates, we understand OSHA recordkeeping requirements and are well equipped to help you navigate these requirements and the good faith efforts expected by the new OSHA memo. Please contact us at 303.384.9828 to learn how we can help you meet your evolving regulatory requirements.