Federal agencies Workplace exposures

COVID-19 pandemic: OSHA updates FAQs on reporting hospitalizations, deaths

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Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Washington — OSHA has updated a series of answers to frequently asked questions on protecting workers from exposure to the coronavirus to include a section on the need to report confirmed, work-related COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

Based on inquiries received from the public, the FAQs cover a wide range of topics, such as testing, cleaning and disinfection, employer requirements, personal protective equipment, returning to work, training, and worker protection concerns.

The new section provides answers to the following questions:

  • How do I report the fatality or in-patient hospitalization of an employee with a confirmed, work-related case of COVID-19?
  • An employee has been hospitalized with a work-related, confirmed case of COVID-19. Do I need to report this in-patient hospitalization to OSHA?
  • An employee has died of a work-related, confirmed case of COVID-19. Do I need to report this to OSHA?

“The employer must report such hospitalization within 24 hours of knowing both that the employee has been in-patient hospitalized and that the reason for the hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19,” OSHA states in response to the second question. “Thus, if an employer learns that an employee was in-patient hospitalized within 24 hours of a work-related incident, and determines afterward that the cause of the in-patient hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19, the case must be reported within 24 hours of that determination.”

In the case of a fatality, if an employer learns that a worker died within 30 days of a work-related incident and determines the cause of death was a work-related case of COVID-19, the case must be reported within eight hours of that determination.

 

OSHA in May issued revised enforcement guidance on recording COVID-19 cases with a three-part test. A case is recordable if the illness is confirmed as COVID-19, the illness is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5 and the case involves at least one of the general recording criteria listed in 29 CFR 1904.7.

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