The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance requiring nearly all employers with 10 or more employees to record cases of COVID-19 among their workforce if these three conditions are met:
- An employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- The confirmed case is work-related.
- The case involves one or more of these criteria:
- Days missed from work
- Work is restricted or employee is transferred to another job
- Involves medical treatment beyond first aid
- There was a loss of consciousness
- Significant illness or injury diagnosed by a licensed healthcare professional
Employers that make a “reasonable and good-faith inquiry” to determine if an employee was exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace and fail to do so are not required to record the illness. OSHA suggests that employers take these steps to fulfill their requirement to conduct a “reasonable and good-faith inquiry”:
- Ask the employee how he or she believes they contracted the illness.
- While respecting the employee’s privacy, inquire about any work or outside activities that may have led to the employee’s illness.
- Determine if any other employees in the same environment have contracted the illness or if there are any conditions in the workplace that potentially exposed the employee to COVID-19.
In addition, OSHA advised that an employee’s diagnosis of COVID-19 may in fact be work-related and required to be reported if:
- There are several cases among employees who work closely together.
- An employee had a recent and lengthy exposure to someone with a diagnosed case of COVID-19 at work.
- An employee’s job duties require frequent, close exposure to the public.
OSHA stated that an illness is likely not work-related if the employee is the only person to contract COVID-19 in the workplace and that employee does not have frequent contact with the public and if the employee has been in close contact with someone outside work who has COVID-19 and exposes the employee during the period when the person is infectious.
Has your employer violated your right to a safe work environment? If so, seek legal representation from the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. right away. Our team will work tirelessly to hold your employer—or employers in a joint employment relationship—accountable. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.