COVID-19 AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

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Understanding OSHA’s Reporting Guidelines for COVID-19 Infections

As many states experience an increased rate of COVID-19 infections, construction jobsites need to have a firm grasp of recordkeeping requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In a past article, we covered guidance from OSHA on the recordkeeping of work-related infections. In short, a COVID-19 case must be reported on OSHA Form 300 if it’s a confirmed infection, work-related, and involves the need for medical treatment, days away from work, and other criteria described by 29 CFR 1904.7.

In this brief article, we will provide you with some additional information related to determining if an infection is work-related. As construction employers across the country experience added responsibilities related to COVID-19, consult the OSHA lawyers at Cotney Construction Law with any legal questions related to the pandemic. 

Related: Screening Employees for COVID-19

The Employer’s Responsibilities 

Employers are in a unique position with COVID-19 because they need to keep employee medical information private while performing their due diligence to determine whether an employee was infected with COVID-19 at the workplace. According to OSHA’s guidelines, an employer needs to speak with an infected employee and ask if they believe they were infected at the workplace or elsewhere. Some common indicators of a work-related infection include:

  • If an employee was in close proximity to another employee who tested positive for COVID-19 and are now infected, this is a good indicator that they experienced work-related exposure. 
  • If a group of workers all tested positive for COVID-19, this is another example of a strong indicator that they were exposed during working hours.
  • If an employee visited a worksite with a high rate of infection or worked with a subcontractor or vendor that tested positive for COVID-19, this is another indicator that they were infected on the job.

OSHA is requesting that employers engage in this analysis to determine whether or not an employee likely was infected on the worksite. If the employer believes that they were, they should report the illness on OSHA Form 300. If an employee is admitted to the hospital due to an infection, employers must report this under the standard OSHA guidelines as well.  

Guidelines May Depend on Your State

It’s important to note that some states have more stringent reporting requirements than the federal guidelines. For example, the state of California is extremely strict regarding their reporting system for COVID-19 related illnesses, so it’s always important to understand the difference between your state’s guidelines and federal guidelines. To learn more about the safety guidelines enforced in your state, consult an OSHA attorney.

If you would like to speak with our OSHA lawyers, please contact us today.

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.