OSHA Regulations In A COVID-19 Era

OSHA Regulations In A COVID-19 Era

OSHA will be increasing the number of its inspections. Inspections will vary by industry risk (from low to very high), the nature of a complaint(s), multiple complaints, or other reasons like a random inspection. Inspections are likely to be less frequent for low-risk industries where employees aren't expected or aren't at high risk of coming into contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case or frequent, close contact with the general public.


Employers must make a reasonable effort to determine if the COVID-19 case is work-related, using the evidence available to them, and record a COVID-19 case as a respiratory illness under OSHA Form 300 (injury or illness form).


The recording obligation occurs when one of these criteria is met:


1.         A case is “confirmed” within the meaning of the CDC definition, which is: an individual with at least one respiratory specimen that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).


2.         The employee was exposed to COVID in the workplace. OSHA defines the work environment as "the establishment and other locations where one or more employees are working or are present as a condition of their employment.” The work environment includes not only physical locations, but also the equipment or materials used by the employee during the course of his or her work." Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment.


3.         A work-related injury or illness must be recorded if it results in one or more of the following:



Death. See § 1904.7(b)(2).



Days away from work. See § 1904.7(b)(3).



Restricted work or transfer to another job. See § 1904.7(b)(4).



Medical treatment beyond first aid. See § 1904.7(b)(5).



Loss of consciousness. See § 1904.7(b)(6).



A significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional.


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