The Coronavirus has put into question many of our common workplace practices; conferences, group trainings, lunches and business travel. It has also created some questions and concerns around Cal/OSHA reporting and recording related to employees who become ill. In this article we will discuss the basics for Cal/OSHA reporting of serious injury or illness and 300log recording of COVID-19 illnesses. I think what gives even seasoned risk managers pause for both reporting and recording with COVID is the “work-relatedness” which can make it difficult to know how to proceed. Here we provide some guidelines so you can make an informed decision at your agency.
According to Title 8 CCR Section 330 the definition of serious injury or illness includes, “any injury or illness occurring in a place of employment or in connection with any employment that requires inpatient hospitalization” and must be immediately reported to Cal/OSHA. Immediately is defined as being as soon as practically possible but not longer than eight hours after the incident, when the employer knows or with diligent inquiry would have known of the serious illness. It is important to remember that reporting a serious illness or death is not an admission that the illness is work related (Cal/OSHA will make that preliminary determination), nor is it an admission of responsibility.
Under AB 1805 - Occupational Safety and Health effective January 1, 2020, the 24-hour minimum time frame for work-related hospitalizations has been removed, so any length of hospitalization of an employee should be reported (for reasons other than medical observation or tests).
If you are not sure how to report or what information is needed check out the Cal/OSHA website on how to report a work related injury or illness, you may do so by phone or email.
In terms of recording workplace injuries and illnesses Cal/OSHA asks employers to use the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Cal/OSHA Form 300) often referred to as the ‘300-log’. The summary of this log must be posted each year from February 1 to April 30 in your workplace. The summary information must also be submitted electronically each year to OSHA by March 2. It is a best practice to keep this log constantly updated, instead of compiling the data annually before the summary information is needed.
Cal/OSHA requires employers to record the case of an employee COVID illness if ALL of the following criteria are met:
- The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19
- The case is work-related (as defined by Title 8 CCR Section 14300.5)
- The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria (set forth in Title 8 CCR Section 14300.7) (for example medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work)
*Note time away from work taken by an employee to self-isolate or be quarantined without having a confirmed COVID-19 illness is not considered time away from work for recording purposes.
For additional information, check out Cal/OSHA’s FAQs on Recording and Reporting Requirements for COVID-19 Cases.
For recording purposes, employers should determine if it is possible that the employee was exposed to this contagious disease (treated similarly to a case of tuberculosis or hepatitis A) at work causing or contributing to the confirmed COVID-19 case. Employers should evaluate the work environment and work duties to decide, and be sure to apply the same criteria to each case (be consistent).
For additional questions or concerns on this topic, please contact Risk Control.