April 16, 2020

Labor Department Releases Interim Guidance for Recordkeeping During COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released interim guidance for enforcing OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements relating to cases of COVID-19. Under the new guidance, employers are responsible for recording confirmed cases of COVID-19 contracted under circumstances related to the employees’ work.

OSHA considers a case of COVID-19, or any other disease or injury, to be work-related if an event or exposure in the workplace either caused or contributed to the resulting condition. Because employers in areas where there is ongoing community transmission may have difficulty determining whether COVID-19 cases are work-related, OSHA is allowing most employers to use their judgment when discerning whether a case is work-related, without necessarily enforcing the criteria laid out in OSHA’s regulations.

DOL’s new guidelines are effective immediately and will remain in place until the COVID-19 crisis ends.

The guidelines do not apply in cases where objective evidence that COVID-19 exposure is work-related was reasonably available to the employer. In addition, employers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations, and correctional institutions are exempted from the interim guidance and must continue to determine whether COVID-19 cases are work-related.

According to DOL, OSHA’s new enforcement policy will help employers focus on enforcing good workplace hygiene and mitigating the effects of COVID-19. For more information, refer to DOL’s press release.