OSHA has announced revised COVID-19 enforcement polices as states reopen their economies and employees return to work. OSHA reminds employers they must make reasonable efforts to determine whether a COVID-19 case is work related. Click here to review OSHA’s COVID-19 workplace safety standards and guidelines.
When determining whether the employer made a reasonable work-relatedness conclusion, OSHA will consider if the employer investigated each case adequately. Suggested information that an employer should obtain, and document, are:
- How the employee believes the illness was contracted;
- Discussion regarding the employee’s work and out-of-work activities that may have led to the illness while respecting their privacy;
- Review of the employee’s work environment for potential COVID-19 exposure; and
- If the employer learns of additional information later, that information should be taken into account as well.
After completing a reasonable and good faith inquiry as described above, if the employer cannot determine whether it is more likely than not that workplace exposure played a causal role to COVID-19 illness contraction, the employer does not need to record the illness for OSHA. The investigation documentation should be maintained to demonstrate compliance with OSHA’s recordkeeping guidance.
Recording a COVID-19 case does not automatically mean the employer has violated any OSHA standard.