Federal agencies Recordkeeping

OSHA relaxes enforcement of recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19 cases

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Washington — OSHA is not requiring most employers outside of the health care industry to record cases of COVID-19 among their employees, under interim guidance issued April 10.

According to an agency press release, employers “other than those in the health care industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting and law enforcement services) and correctional institutions” generally will not be required to record COVID-19 cases because they “may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work.

“Until further notice, OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements (1904.7) to require these employers to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 cases, except where: (1) There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related; and (2) the evidence was reasonably available to the employer.”

 

The agency states that the interim guidance “will provide certainty to the regulated community and help employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects.”

Former OSHA administrator David Michaels responded immediately after the guidance was released. “OSHA is kidding, right?” Michaels wrote on his Twitter account.

Jordan Barab, who served as OSHA deputy assistant secretary during the Obama administration, also reacted swiftly, tweeting, “You know what else might ‘help employers focus their response efforts?’ An enforceable #OSHA emergency temporary standard.”

OSHA notes in an April 10 memo that the guidance “is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis.”

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