OSHA has issued an updated FAQ that changes the requirement for reporting a hospitalization due to contraction of COVID at work.
The prior instruction from OSHA was that under §1904.39(b)(6), employers are required to report an inpatient hospitalization only if the hospital admission “occurs within twenty-four (24) hours of the work-related incident.” This has been interpreted to mean that in order to be reportable, the hospitalization for COVID would have to occur within 24 hours of the last exposure at work (arguably the last day worked) to whatever caused or contributed to the illness.
However, the new FAQ’s change that interpretation. It now says that if an employee is hospitalized with work-related COVID-19, but the case is not confirmed until after the hospitalization, then the employer must report the hospitalization to OSHA within 24 hours of the time it learns that the case of COVID-19 has been confirmed. In other words, the report needs to be made within 24 hours of knowing both that the employee has been hospitalized and that the reason for hospitalization was COVID-19. This seems to be regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the employee was last exposed at work. A confirmed case means that “at least one sample tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.” The new FAQs further say that if an employer is required to keep records, “all such in-patient hospitalizations must be recorded on [the] OSHA injury and illness records regardless of the number of days between confirmation of the case and hospitalization.”