OSHA changes COVID-19 vaccination recording requirements

June 11, 2021

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has shifted its policy and said employers do not need to record adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines on their OSHA 300 logs, according to constructiondive.com.

The new guidance is in effect at least until May 2022 and applies regardless of whether an employer requires, recommends or incentivizes employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. It rescinds previous guidance that said employers that require their employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment must record any adverse reactions to the vaccine if the reaction is work-related (if getting the vaccine is a condition of employment, then it is work-related); a new case; or meets one or more of the general recording criteria specified in 29 CFR 1904.7.

In its updated guidance, OSHA said it is working to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations and “does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.” The agency also wants to avoid disincentivizing employers’ vaccination efforts.

Attorney Phillip Russell with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, Greenville, S.C., says the policy change means construction employers will not have to worry about potential negative effects from an increase in recorded illnesses and injuries, such as higher workers’ compensation costs, fewer bidding opportunities and the number of future OSHA inspections.