OSHA Revises COVID-19 Recordkeeping Requirements

In a clarification to its initial position, OSHA is now going to exercise its enforcement discretion regarding the need for many establishments, including printing operations, to record cases of COVID-19 infections in its workforce. Initially when the coronavirus pandemic began, OSHA maintained its historic position that if an employee contracted the virus and became ill at work, the employer would be required to make a determination that it was work related and if so determined, it needed to be recorded as an illness on OSHA Form 300. The other conditions of recordability included confirmation that the illness was COVID-19 and the employee missed work, or became hospitalized, or was sent home for quarantine, and could not otherwise perform their duties from home.

On Friday April 10, 2020 OSHA issued interim guidance with no expiration date for enforcing OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) as it relates to recording cases of COVID-19. Under the interim guidance, printing facilities will not be required to report coronavirus cases among their employees because companies “may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work.”

OSHA’s guidance does provide an exception in which recording a COVID-19 illness would be required. An employer must record a COVID-19 illness when:

1. There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related. This could include, for example, a number of cases developing among workers who work closely together without an alternative explanation; and

2. The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. For purposes of this memorandum, examples of reasonably available evidence include information given to the employer by employees, as well as information that an employer learns regarding its employees’ health and safety in the ordinary course of managing its business and employees.

This enforcement policy will help employers focus their response efforts on implementing sanitation and other good hygiene practices in their workplaces rather than on making difficult work-relatedness decisions in circumstances where there is community transmission. SGIA has developed a sanitation guide to aid printing operations in their sanitation efforts.

SGIA is following this issue closely and will keep this page updated as we receive more information. For more information please contact the Government Affairs Department at govtaffairs@sgia.org.