The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA’s COVID-19 requirements, which are effective as of May 26, 2020.
As outlined in the updated memorandum, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. In geographic areas with sustained elevated community transmission or a resurgence, OSHA will prioritize on-site inspections for high-risk workplaces, such as health care providers treating patients with COVID-19.
OSHA has also revised its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of COVID-19. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness. Employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if the case:
- Is confirmed COVID-19;
- Is work-related, meaning exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition; and
- Involves one or more of the general recording criteria, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.
Under the new policy issued, OSHA will enforce recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19 illnesses for all employers. OSHA acknowledges the difficulty in determining whether a COVID-19 illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace. OSHA’s guidance emphasizes that employers must make reasonable efforts, based on the evidence available to the employer, to determine whether it would be considered work-related.