When Should Employers Record Adverse COVID-19 Vaccine Reactions to OSHA?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided recommendations on when an employer must record an employee’s negative COVID-19 vaccine reactions in its OSHA 300 log.

What is the OSHA Form 300 Log?

Employers use the OSHA Form 300 to record reportable workplace illnesses and injuries. On the form, employers record the employee’s name and job title, the location and time of incident or sickness, the number of days away from work or on restricted duty, and the nature of the case.

Under the new OSHA guidance, some COVID-19 adverse side effects are reportable on the OSHA Form 300 recordkeeping log if the employer mandates the vaccine.

When should employers record adverse COVID-19 vaccine reactions to OSHA?

In general, an adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is recordable if the reaction:

  • Is work related;
  • Is a new case (meaning the condition did not result from an existing work-related illness);
  • Required the employee to miss work or transfer to another job;
  • Required the employer to place the worker on restricted work duty; or
  • If the employee sought medical treatment beyond first aid.

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

If you require your employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment, then the adverse reactions listed above are recordable.

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?

No. 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.

For this discretion to apply, the vaccine must be truly voluntary. For example, an employee’s choice to accept or reject the vaccine cannot affect his or her performance rating or professional advancement. An employee who chooses not to receive the vaccine cannot suffer any repercussions from that choice.

Help is available

The business attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio have successfully assisted business owners in southeast Michigan with OSHA compliance for more than 30 years. If you have a question regarding COVID-19 in the workplace, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.