California: Cal/OSHA Publishes Guidance on Reporting Requirements for COVID-19 on Safety Logs

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June 3, 2020

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Cal/OSHA, California’s state-specific workplace safety agency, recently published an FAQ regarding the recording and reporting requirements for COVID-19 cases.  The FAQ confirms that employers must record COVID-19 illnesses if they are work-related and meet certain criteria.

Recording COVID-19 Illnesses.  Work-related COVID-19 illnesses must be reported on Cal/OSHA Form 300 Logs if they result in death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness, or significant injury or illness diagnosed by a health care professional.  Employers may need to record a COVID-19 related illness even if confirmed positive testing is not available.

COVID-19 illness is considered work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to the resulting condition, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness.  Examples include things like a worker interacting with or working in the same area or with the same tools as someone known to be infected or carrying COVID-19.

Reporting Requirements.  In addition to recording illnesses on the 300 Log, employers are required to immediately report serious illness, injury, or death to Cal/OSHA, inclusive of COVID-19 cases if they meet the serious illness definition.  If a worker becomes ill with COVID-19 at work and is admitted as an in-patient at a hospital, the illness must be reported within eight hours after the employer knows or with diligent injury would have known of the serious illness.

Employers are also required to report serious illness if there is cause to believe the illness is work-related, even if symptoms begin outside of work.  Employers are encouraged to consider a number of factors to determine if employees who show symptoms outside of work that result in serious illness may have originated at the workplace.  These factors include the number of cases in the workplace or whether the employee had work-related contact with others exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, among others.

Cal/OSHA also specifically notes that reporting a serious illness is not an admission that the illness is work-related, nor is it an admission of responsibility.

Action Items

  1. Review the FAQ on the CA DIR website here.
  2. Have managers trained on Cal/OSHA recording and reporting requirements.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2020 ManagEase

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