Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) OSHA’s record keeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19, if the case is:

  • confirmed as a COVID-19 illness
  • work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5
  • involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work

According to OSHA basic guidelines, "You must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures occurring in the work environment, unless an exception in §1904.5(b)(2) specifically applies."

The Associated Builders and Contractors met the guidelines with rousing applause after the organization clarified that confirmed cases of COVID-19 will not be treated as typical “illnesses” under the rule.

Initial concerns from ABC outlined how the viruses has the potential to skew the national statistics on injuries and illnesses and put construction employers in an almost impossible position of determining how the illness was contracted.

“ABC is pleased OSHA has clarified its position regarding the recordability of COVID-19 cases under its recordkeeping rules, which provides greater certainty to our member contractors," says vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development, Greg Sizemore. "As a member of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, we expressed in a March letter to OSHA significant concerns about putting construction contractors in an almost impossible position of determining whether a particular case of COVID-19 that presents in the workplace is considered ‘work-related.’

"The updated OSHA guidance will continue to let contractors focus on the taking the necessary steps to ensure compliance with health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and overall jobsite safety, which is paramount for ABC and its 21,000-plus members.”