Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Releases Guidance to Employers who Recommend or require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released three new FAQs for employers who recommend or require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines. They are:

Q: Are adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine recordable on the OSHA recordkeeping log?

A: In general, an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is recordable if the reaction is: (1) work-related, (2) a new case, and (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).

Q: If I require my employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of their employment, are adverse reactions to the vaccine recordable?

A: If you require your employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment (i.e., for work-related reasons), then any adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is work-related. 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.

Q: I do not require my employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, I do recommend that they receive the vaccine and may provide it to them or make arrangements for them to receive it offsite. If an employee has an adverse reaction to the vaccine, am I required to record it?

A: No. Although adverse reactions to recommended COVID-19 vaccines may be recordable under 29 CFR 1904.4(a) if the reaction is: (1) work-related, (2) a new case, and (3) meets one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, OSHA is exercising its enforcement discretion to only require the recording of adverse effects to required vaccines at this time. Therefore, you do not need to record adverse effects from COVID-19 vaccines that you recommend, but do not require.

[Note that for this discretion to apply, the vaccine must be truly voluntary.]

Complete OHSA FAQs here: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/faqs#vaccine