Employers are facing unprecedented challenges in addressing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Among the ever-expanding obligations is that federal and state occupational safety and health regulations require employers to record instances of work-related injuries and illnesses and to report to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or applicable state agency all work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations, among other events. Although the common cold and seasonal flu are excepted from recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is not. As a result, with the exception of certain small employers and those in specifically designated industries, employers should identify instances of COVID-19 infection among employees, determine whether the infection was work-related and then maintain required records of such illnesses. In addition, employers must timely report to OSHA or an applicable state agency any work-related COVID-19 death or hospitalization.
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