OSHA provides clarification on reporting COVID-19 work-related incidents


OSHA has released new faqs on its website that provide clarification for employers about reporting COVID-19 work-related incidents.

Prior guidance only stated that any on-the-job illness or injury that leads to hospitalization within 24 hours of the work-related incident occurring, must be reported by the employer within 24 hours of the hospital admission. Prior guidance also stated that reportable fatalities must occur within 30 days of the work-related incident. What makes it a ‘work-related incident’ concerning COVID-19 was not explicitly defined. 

The new guidance clarifies that exposure to COVID-19 in the work-place is considered a work-place incident. Meaning if an employee is in-patient hospitalized with COVID-19 and the hospitalization occurred within 24 hours of COVID-19 exposure in the work-place, the employer is required to report the hospitalization within 24-hours of hospital admission. Employers must also report a fatality within 8 hours of determining both that the employee died due to COVID-19 and that the death occurred within 30 days of a COVID-19 exposure in the work-place.

The new guidance also reminds employers of their duty to continue to investigate whether COVID-19 infections are work-related due to exposure in the work-place and record any COVID-19 infections.

Employers should be able to provide the following when reporting a fatality or hospitalization:

  •  Business name
  • Name of employee(s) affected
  • Time and location of the incident
  • A brief description of the incident
  • Contact name and phone number for follow-up

To report a fatality or in-patient hospitalization, employers can (1) Call the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1(800)-321-OSHA(6742); (2) Call the nearest OSHA office; or (3) reporting the incident online by electronic submission.

If you have questions about COVID-19’s impact on OSHA compliance or you are looking to contest an OSHA citation or prepare for the OSHA inspection process, give us a call. The OSHA lawyers at Sheehy Ware and Pappas have deep expertise in OSHA matters ranging from compliance counseling to representing clients in OSHA lawsuits.