Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued guidance to clarify the recordability of employees suffering adverse side effects from a COVID-19 vaccination. That guidance provided that an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is recordable if the reaction is: (1) work-related, (2) a new case, (3) meets one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g., days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid), and (4) the vaccine is required for employees.
OSHA has now replaced that guidance and is advising employers they do not need to record employees’ adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines on their OSHA logs.
OSHA’s stated reason for the change in position is, as follows:
DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination, and also does not wish to disincentivize employers’ vaccination efforts. As a result, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR 1904’s recording requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022. We will reevaluate the agency’s position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward.
The revision may come as welcome news to employers who are making vaccinations a priority in their workplaces, as the recordability of an adverse reaction from an employee’s COVID-19 vaccine could create administrative challenges. OSHA is expected to continue to update and revise its COVID-19 guidance and employers can anticipate the release of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard which has been under review since April 26, 2021. We will continue to monitor updates and will keep you apprised of same. Should you have any questions relating to OSHA’s new guidance, please contact ALG.