OSHA Revises Coronavirus Reporting Requirement

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provided guidance requiring the recording and reporting of workplace exposures to COVID-19. That guidance did not take into account: the logistical nightmare employers would face to determine where someone contracted the virus—workplace or elsewhere—just as with a non-recordable occurrence of a worker contracting the common cold or influenza at the workplace; the impact this very broad policy could have on workers’ compensation plans; and the impact on contractors’ safety ratings for insurance and owner requirements.

On Thursday, March 12, 2020, AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr spoke one-on-one with U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia on this issue noting AGC’s deep concerns with and opposition to such broad guidance. Shortly after that call, on Friday March 13, 2020, OSHA issued new guidance. That guidance limits when COVID-19 can be a recordable illness to medically confirmed cases of COVID-19 that fall within a narrowed field of incidents that employers could then presume occurred on the jobsite. It is critical that employers conduct an assessment of the employee’s work duties and environment prior to making a decision to record the case, or not, just as you would with any other type of incident. OSHA makes it clear in their guidance, and their existing recordkeeping regulation, that if there is no evidence that the employee contracted the virus in the workplace, it is not a recordable illness.

Click here for a summary of the guidance along with additional information to consider as it relates to OSHA’s requirements for recording and reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses.