OSHA Hammers Down COVID-19 Reporting Rules

02 Oct, 2020 Frank Ferreri


Washington, DC (WorkersCompensation.com) – As employers continue to grapple with COVID-19’s impact on workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants to make sure the numbers add up when it comes to counting hospitalizations and deaths related to workplace-transmission of coronavirus.

Updating its COVID-19 guidance, OSHA spelled out what employers need to report and when they need to report it, which is broken down in the following chart.

Reporting Item

Information OSHA Requires

Employee hospitalization

Per 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6), employers must report in-patient hospitalizations of employees due to COVID-19 within 24 hours of an at-work exposure.

The employer must report the hospitalization within 24 hours of knowing both:

1.     The employee has been hospitalized.

2.     The reason for the hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19.

Employee death

Also per 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6), employers must report a fatality to OSHA if the fatality occurs within 30 days of the work-related incident. To be reportable, a fatality due to COVID-19 must occur within 30 days of an exposure to the virus at work.

The employer must report the fatality within eight hours of knowing both:

1.     The employee has died.

2.     The cause of death was a work-related case of COVID-19.

“Thus, if an employer learns that an employee died within 30 days of a work-related incident, and determines afterward that the cause of death was a work-related case of COVID-19, the case must be reported within eight hours of that determination,” OSHA explained.

How to report

OSHA specified that employers may report fatalities or in-patient hospitalizations due to COVID-19 by:

1.     Calling the nearest OSHA office.

2.     Calling OSHA’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-6742.

3.     Submitting the report online at OSHA.gov.

What to supply

When submitting their reports, OSHA asks employers to supply:

1.     Business name.

2.     Names of employees affected.

3.     Location and time of the incident.

4.     Brief description of the incident.

5.     Contact person and phone number, unless the reporter wishes to do so anonymously.


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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