OSHA recently sent revised enforcement guidance to it’s regional administrators regarding affected employers’ obligation to record and report work-related cases of COVID-19. The memorandum makes it clear that employers must make a good faith effort to determine whether a case of COVID-19 is work-related, and if so, record and report the illnesses if the other required recording/reporting criteria also applies. Examples, of considerations that employers should make, which are described in the memorandum, are as follows:
- COVID-19 illnesses are likely work-related when several cases develop among workers who work closely together and there is no alternative explanation.
- An employee’s COVID-19 illness is likely work-related if it is contracted shortly after lengthy, close exposure to a particular customer or coworker who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 and there is no alternative explanation.
- An employee’s COVID-19 illness is likely work-related if his/her job duties include having frequent, close exposure to the general public in a locality with ongoing community transmission and there is no alternative explanation.
- An employee’s COVID-19 illness is likely not work-related if he/she is the only worker to contract COVID-19 in his/her vicinity and his/her job duties do not include having frequent contact with the general public, regardless of the rate of community spread.
- An employee’s COVID-19 illness is likely not work-related if he/she, outside the workplace, closely and frequently associates with someone (e.g., a family member, significant other, or close friend) who (1) has COVID-19; (2) is not a coworker, and (3) exposes the employee during the period in which the individual is likely infectious.
- CSHOs should give due weight to any evidence of causation, pertaining to the employee illness, at issue provided by medical providers, public health authorities, or the employee himself/herself.