Throughout the course of the pandemic, understanding about the transmission and prevention of COVID-19 infection has improved. The government and the private sector have taken rapid and evolving measures to slow the virus’s spread, protect employees and adapt to new ways of doing business.
As states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.
First, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. The new enforcement guidance reflects changing circumstances in which many non-critical businesses have begun to reopen in areas of lower community spread. The risk of transmission is lower in specific categories of workplaces, and personal protective equipment potentially needed for inspections is more widely available. OSHA staff will continue to prioritize COVID-19 inspections and will utilize all enforcement tools as OSHA has historically done.
Second, OSHA is revising its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, coronavirus is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, if the case:
- Is confirmed as a coronavirus illness;
- Is work-relatedas defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
- Involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.
Under the new policy, OSHA will enforce the recordkeeping requirements for employee coronavirus illnesses for all employers. Given the nature of the disease and community spread, however, it is often difficult to determine whether a coronavirus 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 to determine whether a case of coronavirus is work-related.
For further information and resources about COVID19, visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage.