By Brad Sant, senior vice president of safety & education, ARTBA

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) April 10 issued interim guidance stating it will not require employers (other than those in the health-related industries) to record COVID-19 illnesses on their OSHA reports (300 log), which list workplace injuries and illnesses, except in certain instances.

OSHA’s announcement answers a March 25 ARTBA letter seeking clarification due to postings on OSHA’s website that led to substantial uncertainty among transportation construction industry firms about the agency’s interpretation of existing practices in relation to the new public health threat. The new guidance matches the information provided to ARTBA members on March 26, which concluded: “COVID-19 should be treated similarly to an exposure to any other pathogen that causes an illness.”

While a number of interests have contacted OSHA about COVID-19 in recent weeks, ARTBA’s letter to Loren Sweatt, principal deputy assistant secretary of labor, is what prompted the agency’s latest guidance.

OSHA’s noted exceptions are:

  • There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related. This could include, for example, cases developing among workers who work closely together without an alternative explanation.
  • The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. For purposes of this memorandum, examples of reasonably available evidence include information given to the employer by employees, as well as information that an employer learns regarding its employees’ health and safety in the ordinary course of managing its business and employees.

Editor’s Note: See OSHA Will Consider Employer “Good Faith Efforts” in COVID-19 Compliance