OSHA Expands Employer Guidance on COVID-19

On September 30th, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the publication of additional COVID-19-related frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs). The new FAQs discuss the need to report employees’ in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities resulting from work-related cases of the coronavirus. As reported in June, OSHA has been updating these FAQs with new information since the beginning of the global pandemic.

Contents of the New FAQs

The FAQs provide information to help employers apply existing injury and illness recording and reporting requirements to the current pandemic. In particular, the FAQs provide guidance on how to calculate reporting deadlines for in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities. The FAQs also clarify the meaning of the term “incident” as it relates to work-related coronavirus in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities.

The following questions are in the new addition:

  • How do I report the fatality or in-patient hospitalization of an employee with a confirmed, work-related case of COVID-19?
  • An employee was previously hospitalized with a work-related, confirmed case of COVID-19. Do I need to report this to OSHA?
  • An employee has died of a work-related, confirmed case of COVID-19. Do I need to report this fatality to OSHA?

This information is OSHA’s latest effort to more information on how it enforces standards and regulations during the pandemic. OSHA has also previously published revised enforcement guidance detailing how OSHA enforces recordkeeping requirements for coronavirus illnesses. For more COVID-19-related information, employers can visit OSHA’s COVID-19 webpage.

Employer Takeaways

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers are responsible for providing safe workplaces for employees. Under this latest guidance from OSHA, employers have the responsibility of properly reporting work-related case of COVID-19 to the agency. According to OSHA, this will help keep workers safe from the possibility of infection and injury. By following these guidelines, employers will be in compliance with OSHA injury recordkeeping requirements and avoid possible fines and penalties.

NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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