COVID-19 Workers' Comp & OSHA

OSHA Updates

February 1, 2021 Update:

OSHA Waives Form 300A Posting Requirements for Certain Employers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its recordkeeping guidance regarding their mandate that covered employers monitor and report certain work-related injuries and/or illnesses.

Among OSHA’s series of disclosure requirements is Form 300A, an annual log of work-related injuries and illnesses that occur during a calendar year. The purpose of Form 300A is to promote employee awareness surrounding work-related injuries and illnesses while still protecting employees’ privacy concerns and it is to be displayed in a conspicuous place within the employer’s physical workplace regardless of whether any work-related incidents occurred or not. The annual notification posting period is 2/1 – 4/30 each year for the previous calendar year.

What is the New Guidance for 2021?

For the 2021 annual notification period, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA has waived the Form 300A posting requirement but only if there aren’t any employees present at the employer’s physical workplace on 2/1/21 due to COVID-19 and it remains as such through 4/30/21.  However, if the employer’s location should re-open prior to 5/1/21, employers that do not fall under an exemption will need to proceed in complying with the usual Form 300A posting requirement.  OSHA recommends, but does not require, that such employers still send their employees an electronic copy of Form 300A as good practice.

Form 300A Background

All employers subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations with 11+ employees and part of a certain high-hazard industry such as farming, manufacturing or construction must maintain and file injury and illness records, including Form 300A. These high-hazard industries are listed on OSHA’s website (https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/presentations/covered) and identified by a code established under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

There are currently 2 carve-outs from the Form 300A posting requirement in general: exempt organizations with 10 or less employees at all times during the last calendar year regardless of industry classification and certain low-hazard industries. Employers in these categories do not need to maintain OSHA injury and illness records unless specifically directed to do so in writing by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For a list of exempt industries please see this link (https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/presentations/exempttable).

It is important to remember that all employers, including those exempted by reasons of size or industry classification, must report to OSHA any workplace accident resulting in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

June 23, 2020 Update:

Did you know that OSHA’s poster that shows employers and workers how to properly wear and remove a respirator is now available in 16 languages?

OSHA Guidance on How to Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Employers can use this one-page alert to learn about important measures they can take to prevent worker exposure to coronavirus in the workplace.

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for the Coronavirus

OSHA has published this guide to help employers prepare for coronavirus (COVID-19) issues in the workplace. The guide does not create new or additional employer obligations.

May 15, 2020 Update:

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Alert to Help Keep Medical/Dental Industry Practitioners Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect medical/dental industry workers from exposure to the coronavirus.

Measures that can help protect dental practitioners include:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if sick;
  • Maximize the use of telemedicine for non-emergency consultations, and prioritize urgent and emergency procedures;
  • Install physical barriers or partitions between patient treatment areas;
  • Provide adequate ventilation and airflow inpatient treatment areas so that air moves away from staff work areas;
  • Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment with hospital-grade, Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus;
  • Minimize the number of staff present when aerosol-generating procedures are performed and ensure staff who are present are appropriately protected;
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment, such as eye goggles, face shields and N95 respirators, as necessary to protect medical/dental practitioners and support personnel; and
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

Workplace Safety Standards Regarding COVID-19

  • Employers must protect their workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection.
  • Employers should be aware that common sanitizers and sterilizers can contain hazardous chemicals.
May 15, 2020 Update:

OSHA Guidance for Restaurants and Beverage Vendors Offering Takeout or Curbside Pickup

OSHA is committed to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers and workplaces during these unprecedented times. The agency will be issuing a series of industry-specific alerts designed to help keep workers safe. If you are in the restaurant or beverage industry and offer takeout or curbside pickup services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following tips can help reduce workers’ risk of exposure to the coronavirus:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Avoid direct hand-off, when possible.
  • Display a door or sidewalk sign with the services available (e.g., take-out, curbside), instructions for pickup, and hours of operation.
  • Reserve parking spaces near the front door for curbside pickup only.
  • Train workers in proper hygiene practices and the use of workplace controls.
  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent spread of the virus.
  • Provide a place to wash hands and alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment with Environmental Protection Agency approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
  • Practice sensible social distancing by maintaining six feet between co-workers and customers. Mark six-foot distances with floor tape in pickup lines, encourage customers to pay ahead of time by phone or online, temporarily move workstations to create more distance, and install plexiglass partitions, if feasible.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
April 15, 2020 Update: 

OSHA Provides Recordkeeping Guidance to Employers For COVID-19 Cases

Limited Enforcement Waiver

Recognizing the difficulty in determining whether COVID-19 was contracted while on the job, OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements that would require employers in areas where there is ongoing community transmission to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 cases, except where:

  1. There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related; and
  2. The evidence was reasonably available to the employers.

This waiver of enforcement does not apply to employers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting and law enforcement services), and correctional institutions in areas where there is ongoing community transmission.  These employers must continue to make work-relatedness determinations.

Zurich COVID-I9 Support Hub

  • Teleworking:  While working from home reduces one risk, it heightens others related to cyber security, personal safety, and worker injury.  Several issues need to be considered when setting up employees to work remotely to ensure a clean, safe, and ergonomically sound home/work office environment. The attached Telework Risk Topic outlines many of the exposures and mitigation strategy to consider in keeping workers safe when working remotely.
  • Workstation Ergonomics: Proper workstation set-up is important when working remotely. Risk Engineering has developed guidance in the attached Laptop and Terminal Tips Brochure that contains home office ergonomics suggestions. In addition, we have a free web-based workstation evaluation tool called eZErgo, that allows employees to perform a self-evaluation of their home office setup right on their computer. Here’s a demo for your team (Password: ergo91117).
  •  Remote Collaboration:  Zurich has enacted work-from-home and travel restrictions, but we are still available to assist you with your risk management activities through several of our digital facing options that include FaceTime, calls, email, conferencing tools, photos, and videos. Our Remote Collaboration tool available on the Zurich Risk Advisor Application allows you access to Risk Engineering expertise anywhere at any time. Easy-to-use video streaming technology enables you to collaborate with our Risk Engineers remotely through your mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android).

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Workplace Safety

As of now, OSHA has decided that COVID-19 should not be excluded from coverage of the rule – like the common cold or the seasonal flu – and, thus, OSHA is considering it an “illness.”

Only confirmed cases of COVID-19 should be considered an illness under the rule so, if an employee simply comes to work with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (but not a confirmed diagnosis), the recordability analysis would not necessarily be triggered at that time.

OSHA has resources to help employers and workers prepare for and respond to coronavirus in the workplace.

OSHA Issues Guidance on Face Coverings and Cleaning Methods

Below are some useful links for guidance answers to questions regarding the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  1. How to properly use face coverings in the workplace
  2. How to clean a reusable cloth face covering
  3. CDC video instructions to make your own face covering
  4. How to properly wear and take off your face covering

Please remember that social distancing and the use of face coverings are crucial in helping stop the spread of COVID-19.

The NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance) COVID & Workers Compensation

Updated: May 20, 2020

What you Need to Know FAQs

NCCI has received numerous questions in the last few weeks regarding COVID-19 and the impact it may have on the workers compensation industry.

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) are intended to be the start of a series of responses that will address questions NCCI receives.