OSHA Revises Guidance Regarding Employer Recordkeeping of COVID-19

Thursday, May 28, 2020
Michael Bivona

OSHA has released new guidance surrounding employer recordkeeping during the COVID-19 pandemic. The OSHA memorandum states that, if an employee contracts COVID-19, such a diagnosis is considered a “recordable illness” (under OSHA) if all of the following apply:


-The case is confirmed as COVID-19, using the definition created and used by the CDC;

-The case is “work-related”; and

-The case involves general recording criteria otherwise necessary for an OSHA recordable illness.


The guidance understands that the determination of whether a case of COVID-19 in an employee is related to their work is a difficult one with oftentimes no clear evidence. Because of this, OSHA has provided some leadership on how to deal with investigations into work-relatedness.


All investigations should be “Reasonable.” An in-depth investigation involving numerous medical reports and HIPAA concerns is unnecessary. An employer may satisfy their duty by interviewing the employee and asking him or her about whether the workplace has caused the contraction of COVID-19. An employer may, within reason, inquire into out-of-work activities. The employer should also inspect the employee’s work space to determine if it could be cultivating COVID-19. The employer should take into consideration all reasonably available evidence when making a determination. An employer need only record a COVID-19 case under OSHA rules if, after a reasonable investigation, the employer has determined that it is more likely than not that the COVID-19 infection occurred in the workplace.


Employers with 10 or less employees need not record incidents of COVID-19 under OSHA rules. This guidance is effective immediately and supersedes any and all other guidance on this topic that OSHA has previously released.

You can reads the entire OSHA memorandum HERE.