On April 20, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released guidance in the form of three new FAQs for employers who recommend or require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines. The new FAQs provide additional considerations for employers who are mandating employee vaccination.
In short, if an employer requires employees to be vaccinated, adverse reactions to the vaccines are considered work-related by OSHA, and employers who require COVID-19 vaccines must notify OSHA within 24 hours of an employee’s inpatient hospitalization (or within eight hours of an employee’s death) resulting from an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
For employers subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, if the adverse reaction meets other general recording criteria, such as days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, or medical treatment beyond first aid, the reaction must be recorded on the employer’s OSHA 300 log, even if it does not lead to hospitalization.
Employers who encourage but do not require vaccination do not need to record adverse reactions or report hospitalizations due to those adverse reactions, even if the employer facilitates employees’ access to the vaccine.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers who mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or who are considering mandating the vaccine should review this guidance to determine their obligations under OSHA requirements and be prepared to comply with reporting and recording requirements.