OSHA Updates Recording Guidance for Adverse COVID-19 Vaccine Reactions

On May 21, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guidance for recording COVID-
19 vaccination adverse reactions. The guidance now states that OSHA will not
enforce the recording requirements to require any employers to record
worker side effects from the COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022.
Previous Guidance
Prior OSHA FAQs indicated that employers were required to record an
employee’s adverse reaction(s) to a COVID-19 vaccination if the reaction was
(1) work-related, (2) a new case and (3) met one or more of the agency’s
general recording criteria. In its prior guidance, OSHA had clarified that an
adverse reaction would be “work-related” if the vaccine was required as a
condition of employment.
The New Guidance
OSHA has replaced its FAQs on this topic with the following single entry:
Are adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine recordable on the OSHA
recordkeeping log? The DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are
working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. OSHA does not wish
to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19
vaccination, and also does not wish to disincentivize employers’ vaccination
efforts. As a result, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR 1904’s recording
requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from
COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022. We will re-evaluate the agency’s
position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward.
Impact on Employers
Employers can rely on the agency’s statement that the recording requirement
will not be enforced through May 2022. Employers should note that this
update does not change any other injury or illness recording requirements.