The 2019 novel coronavirus continues to impact the U.S., and OSHA is telling employers they must track any infections of the illness confirmed to have occurred in the workplace.
The agency has released guidance on handling exposure at work, including a reference to recordkeeping and reporting standards for workplace illnesses and injuries.
Which OSHA standards apply?
While OSHA doesn’t have a specific standard covering the coronavirus, a new webpage details the standards the agency finds relevant to the recent outbreak.
Among the listed standards – which also includes the General Duty Clause and PPE regulations for eye, face and respiratory protection – is 29 CFR 1904 Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness.
The web page says, “Depending on the specific work task, setting and exposure to other biological or chemical agents” the listed standards may apply.
This applies to employers with more than 10 employees who are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Minor injuries – such as those requiring only first aid – do not need to be recorded.
OSHA defines a recordable injury or illness as any work-related:
- injury or illness resulting in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job
- injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, and
- diagnosed case of cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones or teeth and punctured eardrums.
There are also special recording criteria for work-related cases involving medical removal.
In other words, if a case of the 2019 novel coronavirus is confirmed to have been contracted as a result of employment, OSHA wants it recorded and reported, according to the web page.
Need more information?
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