In our latest installment of Ask the Expert, brought to you by the team of industry experts at EHS Hero®, we look at a recent question from a subscriber asking about COVID-19 reporting requirements. See what the experts had to say.
Q: Were there COVID-19 reporting requirements prior to 2021?
There were no federal COVID-19 reporting requirements, other than 29 CFR 1904, prior to 2021. (NOTE: This statement does not encompass the policies, procedures, or requirements of state or local agencies or health departments.)
OSHA issued its COVID-19 Healthcare ETS on June 21, 2021, to protect workers from COVID-19 in settings where they provide healthcare or healthcare support services. The ETS required employers that have more than 10 employees to establish and maintain a COVID-19 log to record each instance identified by the employer in which an employee is COVID-19 positive, regardless of whether the instance is connected to exposure to COVID-19 at work (29 CFR 1910.502(q)(2)). On December 28, 2021, OSHA withdrew most of the ETS, but did not withdraw recordkeeping provisions requiring COVID-19 logs and case reports, as they were promulgated under separate provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).
OSHA recordkeeping requirements mandate covered employers record certain work-related injuries and illnesses on their OSHA 300 log (29 CFR Part 1904). COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following are true:
- The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see CDC information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19);
- The case is work-related (as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5); and
- The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g., medical treatment beyond first aid, days away from work).