Patrick J. Barrett402.978.5245
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Under OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations, certain employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 Log. This information is important for employers, workers and OSHA in evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards, and implementing worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards. However, there are two classes of employers that are partially exempt from routinely keeping injury and illness records.
Partially-exempt employers need only report “work-related” COVID-19 illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization. In-patient COVID-19 hospitalizations must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours, and work-related COVID-19 fatalities must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours. As you may recall, OSHA previously suspended its recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19 cases on April 10, 2020, acknowledging the difficulty for employers to determine whether an employee’s exposure to COVID-19 was work-related and, thus, recordable. That suspension has been lifted. Effective May 26, 2020, all employers subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements must resume their obligation to record work-related exposures to COVID-19. OSHA claims that it will exercise discretion to assess employers’ efforts in making work-related determinations. In doing so, OSHA will consider the following:
According to OSHA, employers who undertake the investigative steps above but who “cannot determine whether it is more likely than not” the Employee contracted COVID-19 due to a workplace exposure need not record the incident. If it is more likely than not that the employee contracted COVID-19 at work, employers should code COVID-19 as a “respiratory illness,” classify the case (i.e., death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness or a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional), and complete the other information sought. Because this is an illness, if the Employee voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log, the employer must comply with his/her request.
Fraser Stryker’s Labor and Employment Attorneys are available to answer questions and assist clients in preparation for, or response to, any legal issues related to COVID-19 and employees. Please reach out to us at 402.341.6000 for further assistance.
A printable version of this information can be found by clicking HERE.
This article has been prepared for general information purposes and (1) does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship, (2) is not intended as a solicitation, (3) is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and (4) is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney. Always seek professional counsel prior to taking action.