COVID-19: OSHA Recordable Illness if Work-Related

Since the onset of COVID-19, some employees have contracted the illness in work-related environments. OSHA has defined the illness as a recordable illness if:

  1. The case is a confirmed COVID-19 case by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) definition. A confirmed case means an individual that tested positive for COVID-19 (SARS CoV-2 illness).
  2. The case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5; where COVID-19 illness is confirmed to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the illness.
  3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7 when it results in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness; or the illness is diagnosed by a physician or other LHCP.

How to Know When a COVID-19 Case Is or Is Not Work-Related

A May 19, 2020 OSHA Enforcement Memorandum can be used by employers to help determine if the illness is work-related, especially when an employee can be exposed both on and off of the job.

COVID-19 illnesses are likely work-related when there is no alternative explanation and if:

  • Several cases develop among close co-workers;
  • It is contracted shortly after close exposure to someone in the workplace who has a COVID-19 diagnosis;
  • Job duties include close exposure to the general public with ongoing community transmission.

COVID-19 illnesses are likely NOT work-related if:

  • The employee is the only worker in that work area to contract COVID-19 and the job duties do not include frequent contact with the general public.
  • The employee, outside the workplace, closely and frequently associates with someone such as a family member, significant other, or close friend; who has COVID-19; is not a coworker, and exposes the employee.

OSHA Recordkeeping Report Form

The 2020 OSHA Recordkeeping Report Form is due to be submitted and posted in the workplace on February 1, 2021, and will include injuries and illnesses in the calendar year of 2020.

If your organization has experienced COVID-19 related illness(es) you need to review the incidents to determine if it is work-related and assure that it is entered on the OSHA 300 Log and OSHA 300A Summary report. Where applicable; a State Workers Compensation form 301 FROI must also be completed.

In addition, organizations may have to submit their 2020 300A summary electronically to Federal OSHA Injury Tracking Application-ITA. This includes any COVID-19 cases that were determined to be work-related and logged on your OSHA 300. Further details can be found here:

If you have questions related to this update, please contact your North Risk Partners advisor. Don’t have an advisor? No problem. We’ll help you find one.

This regulatory update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.