As construction remains an essential business throughout the state of Florida, contractors will most likely have to face cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on their jobsites. Initially, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandated that cases of COVID-19 be treated as recordable instances, unlike cases of the cold or flu.
Following concerns from within the industry that these recordkeeping requirements would put contractors at an increased risk of contracting the virus, OSHA issued interim guidance for following their recordkeeping requirements. In this brief article, a COVID-19 construction lawyer with Cotney Construction Law discusses this temporary guidance and your responsibilities as an employer in the eyes of OSHA.
OSHA’s Recordkeeping Requirements
To be clear, COVID-19 is still a recordable illness that you are responsible for recording. However, the interim guidance specifies that you are only required to record cases on OSHA Form 300 if:
- It is a confirmed case of COVID-19
- It is work-related
- Involves medical treatment, days away from work, or other criteria described by 29 CFR 1904.7
Furthermore, you will not be required by OSHA to make work-relatedness determinations of COVID-19 cases unless there’s obvious and reasonably available evidence that a COVID-19 case is work related. What does this actually mean for construction employers?
You are only required to log cases of COVID-19 when they are confirmed and obviously work related. For example, if a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19 and a coworker they work in close proximity to is also diagnosed with COVID-19, this would obviously be work related and should be recorded in OSHA Form 300. You are not required to conduct an investigation, although you may do so, and you can use information gained in your day-to-day business dealings to make your determinations. For assistance determining if a workplace illness should be recorded, consult a Miami construction attorney from our law firm.
Your Responsibility as an Employer
Essentially, OSHA wants you to protect your workers and only record cases when it’s obviously work related. In OSHA’s eyes, your responsibility as an employer is to provide your workers with a safe, hazard free work environment. Although OSHA may have relaxed their recordkeeping requirements when it comes to COVID-19, you are still required to follow key OSHA standards that relate to the virus.
OSHA’s “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” is a terrific resource. You can also look for guidance on our own COVID-19 Resources page. For assistance keeping your jobsite safe and OSHA compliant during this difficult time, consult the Miami construction attorneys from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.