Question: We are testing employees daily for COVID-19 to protect staff and patients. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, are we required to record an OSHA incident?
Question from Los Angeles, CA subscriber
Answer: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements mandate that you record certain work-related illnesses. COVID-19 is included in the regulation under certain requirements. “COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties,” according to OSHA.
You are required to record COVID-19 employee illnesses on your OSHA 300 log when the following case criteria are met:
- Confirmed case of COVID-19,
- Work-related, as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5
- One or more of the general recording requirements set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g. medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work).
Be careful about the amount of information that you reveal with co-workers. Under HIPAA, you are allowed to disclose information to individuals who are potentially exposed. However, you are prohibited from identifying the person, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To comply with these laws, you should take the following actions:
- Notification: Notify co-workers of their possible exposure to COVID-19 without disclosing the infected employee’s identity
- Assess risk: Refer employees to CDC guidance on how to assess their exposure risk.
If you are like most practices, you have a ton of additional employee-related compliance questions such as can you make employees use PTO if they miss work due to COVID-19, how high does an employee’s temperature need to be to send them home, and more. Get all your COVID-19 employment policy questions answered during the expert-led online training “Stop Practice Penalties, Comply with New COVID-19 Employment Laws,” by healthcare and employment attorney, Kelly Holden, Esq.
Source: New OSHA guidance outlines specific ways you can protect your employees from contracting COVID-19 such as installing sneeze guards at the front desk and check out area.
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