New OSHA Guidance for Recording Obligations When Mandating Vaccination

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This is an update to Holland & Knight's previous blog, "Employers May Encourage Employees to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine, But Requiring it Raises Issues," April 26, 2021.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued new guidance on recording obligations for COVID-19 vaccine-related injuries for those employers required to keep OSHA 300 logs.

In newly added FAQs on its website, OSHA states that, if an employer is subject to OSHA's general recordkeeping requirements for serious work-related injuries and illnesses, it must record an employee's adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine if the adverse reaction meets three criteria: 1) the reaction is work-related; 2) the reaction is a new case; and 3) the reaction meets one or more of the criteria under 29 CFR 1904.7, resulting in the employee having to take one or more days off of work, receive medical treatment beyond first aid, or the like as per the standard. In its new guidance, OSHA specifically discusses the issue of mandating employee vaccination, and states that any adverse reactions that an employee experiences after being required to receive the vaccine will automatically classify as work-related. As a result, employers that require vaccination will likely need to monitor all employee reactions to the vaccine, adding an additional administrative and regulatory compliance hurdle for employers looking to require vaccination against COVID-19.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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