• Employers must track job-related new coronavirus cases
  • Uncertainty remains about whether exposures occur at work

Employers must track and report instances of workers contracting Covid-19 on the job, not those stemming from exposure to the new coronavirus while off the clock, OSHA said.

The update—in new guidance released Friday—comes as many workplaces are limiting operations and urging employees to work from home due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. The guidance clarifies employers’ obligations to log injuries and illnesses at work.

The following conditions must be met in order for a business to be subject to reporting mandates as a result of the virus: The employer must be dealing with a confirmed case of Covid-19 that is work-related and meets recording criteria set in OSHA regulations, such as days away from work or requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA mandates hundreds of thousands of employers with 10 or more workers to keep a log of every workplace injury or illness that requires medical treatment beyond first aid or keeps a worker away from work for at least one day. Failure to keep accurate records can lead to the agency citing the company and possibly proposing fines.

Workplace safety attorneys said this week that there remains ambiguity in the mandates as to whether the agency expects businesses to track cases of coronavirus in which it’s not clear whether exposure at work contributed to the illness.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Penn in Washington at bpenn@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com