September 30, 2020
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OSHA recently issued an FAQ for employers to follow to determine reporting obligations when an employee becomes sick with COVID-19 in the workplace. OSHA previously stated that employers must report a workplace illness or injury that results in (1) an in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours of a work-related “incident,” and (2) a fatality within 30 days of a work-related incident. The FAQ clarifies that a work-related “incident” includes an “exposure” to COVID-19 in the workplace, rather than when an employee develops symptoms or tests positive.
Moreover, if an employee is exposed to COVID-19 at work that results in in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours of the work exposure, the employer must report the hospitalization within 24 hours of knowing both that the employee has been in-patient hospitalized and that the reason for the hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19. If the employer is aware of the hospitalization “and determines afterward that the cause of the in-patient hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19, the case must be reported within 24 hours of that determination.”
Similarly, if an employee dies within 30 days of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, the employer must report the fatality within eight hours of knowing both that the employee has died, and that the cause of death was a work-related case of COVID-19. “Thus, if an employer learns that an employee died within 30 days of a work-related incident, and determines afterward that the cause of the death was a work-related case of COVID-19, the case must be reported within eight hours of that determination.”
Keep in mind that this clarification only applies to reporting. “[E]mployers who are required to keep OSHA injury and illness records must still record work-related in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities,” as required by other provisions of the regulation.
- Review OSHA’s FAQ here.
- Update reporting protocols and train staff managers accordingly.
- 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.
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