The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently posted FAQs stating that if an employee has an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccine that was mandated by their employer, the reaction is recordable if it’s a new case and meets the usual criteria for recordable injuries and illnesses. OSHA says if the employee would suffer any adverse employment consequences for not getting vaccinated, it considers the vaccine to be mandatory.
If you merely encourage or recommend the vaccine, however, OSHA is exercising its discretion to excuse you from recording adverse reactions. This is true even if you sponsor a vaccine clinic at work, as long as the employee’s choice to attend is truly voluntary.
Tips: OSHA’s regulations at 29 CFR 1904.7 list the general criteria for determining when a work-related injury or illness is recordable. You must enter the case on your OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses) if the incident resulted in death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness, or a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional. If you need help determining whether you must record an injury or illness, listen to our safety podcast on OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping requirements and contact your Vigilant safety professional with any specific questions. For serious incidents, you may have an obligation to promptly notify OSHA or your state safety and health agency; see our Legal Guide, Catastrophe/Fatality Notification Procedure.