On September 30, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding an employer’s obligation to report to OSHA cases of work-related COVID-19. The FAQs build upon previous OSHA guidance governing when and how to record and report confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the workplace. These are two additional parts to their COVID-19 frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have had a number of questions regarding the recordability and reportability of COVID-19 cases. OSHA has stated that employers must record and report work-related cases of COVID-19 if the cases otherwise meet the recording and reporting criteria in the regulation. With respect to reporting a work-related positive case of COVID-19, that obligation occurs when the case results in (1) an in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours of a work-related “incident,” and (2) a fatality within 30 days of a work-related incident.

Reporting Hospitalizations

OSHA requires employers to report in-patient hospitalizations only if the hospitalization occurs within 24 hours of an exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. As a result, employers must report COVID-19 hospitalizations only if the hospitalizations are:

  • For in-patient treatment; and
  • The result of a work-related case of COVID-19.

The report must be submitted within 24 hours of the time the employer determines there was an in-patient hospitalization caused by a COVID-19 case. Hospitalization for diagnostic testing or observation only is not “in-patient” hospitalization.

Reporting Fatalities

OSHA requires employers to report fatalities that occur within 30 days of an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace.

Fatality reports must be submitted within eight hours of the time the employer learns that the fatality took place and that it was due to a work-related exposure.

Recording Requirements 

These FAQs address only reporting requirements for COVID-19. Employers can review their COVID-19 recording requirements on OSHA’s website.