OSHA recently released the new guidance for COVID-19 safety compliance. The new guidance from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is causing contractors to change their COVID-19 vaccine requirements,
Several companies began asking for clarification whether an employer should record adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccination if the employer requires or mandates the vaccine. OSHA replied that if a vaccine is required, then any adverse reaction is considered work-related and therefore it must be recorded. The adverse reaction is recordable if it is a new case under 29 CFR 1904.6 and meets one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7. These include:
- Death. See § 1904.7(b)(2).
- Days away from work. See § 1904.7(b)(3).
- Restricted work or transfer to another job. See § 1904.7(b)(4).
- Medical treatment beyond first aid. See § 1904.7(b)(5).
- Loss of consciousness. See § 1904.7(b)(6).
- A significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional. See § 1904.7(b)(7).
If you do not require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, you do not need to record adverse effects from COVID-19 vaccines that you recommend, but do not require.
In response, several large contractors said they have changed or will change their vaccination policy to only recommend—not require—a vaccine. At the same time, several groups have reached out to OSHA to get more context as to the burden the guidance places on contractors. Those groups plan to submit letters to the agency seeking further clarification.
Some of the questions that received clarification can be found here. https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/faqs#vaccine
We will provide and update is as we get more information regarding the clarification process.