OSHA COVID-19 Guidelines Require Reporting Fatalities Only
Recently released guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), effectively requires employers to only report recordable COVID-19 illnesses which result in death.
The guidance provides that a case of COVID-19 is only reportable if it leads to either hospitalization within 24 hours of the initial exposure to COVID-19 or death within thirty days of that exposure. Although the average timeline from infection to death is well within 30 days, according to the CDC, COVID-19 infections generally take six days before showing any symptoms, and then another five days to become severe enough to call for hospitalization. This means employers are rarely required to report COVID-19 hospitalization events to OSHA because of how unlikely it is for people to be hospitalized within 24 hours of an initial exposure.
However, OSHA changes its COVID-19 guidance regularly and employers should be prepared to handle changes to the latest regulatory interpretations.