Companies Ask if Onsite COVID-19 Illness Reportable to OSHA
Amid growing pandemic concerns, Preston Howard, President of North Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (NCMA) sent a request to Kevin Beauregard, director of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Division of the N.C. Department of Labor (DOL) seeking guidance for NCMA manufacturing members to determine work-relatedness of exposure to contagious disease, specifically COVID-19. NCMA members and the manufacturing community at large need this guidance as they face the probability of coronavirus related sickness showing up in the workplace.
DOL responded promptly with some clarification that instances of employees becoming infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus while at work are recordable on the OSHA 300 log if the illness results in fatality, loss of consciousness, days away from work, days of restricted work or job transfer, and medical treatment beyond first aid. Additionally, consultation with a physician may be necessary to preclude work-relatedness. It is not clear under what conditions physician consultation would be necessary.
One clear thing is that employers will need to adopt current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for mitigating the spread of coronavirus in the workplace and be prepared to conduct onsite analysis of potential work-relatedness. CDC wants all employers to have an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan and be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations.