OSHA’s Recording Requirements for Adverse Reactions to the COVID-19 Vaccine
As more employees are being vaccinated, some are experiencing adverse reactions significant enough to impact their ability to work. OSHA has now issued guidance on when such reactions should be treated as recordable events, in accordance with the obligation of many employers to record serious work-related illnesses and injuries.
A vaccine reaction will be considered recordable if: (1) it is work-related; (2) a new case; and (3) meets one of more of the following recording criteria – requires days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, or medical treatment beyond first aid.
Whether the vaccine is considered work-related depends on whether the employer requires or only recommends the vaccine. If the vaccine is required, then adverse reactions that meet the recording criteria must be recorded on OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Report). If the employer only recommends the vaccine, then there is no recording requirement for adverse reactions, even if the employer makes the vaccine available at the workplace or arranges for employees to receive the vaccine at an off-site location. But the choice must be truly voluntary and the employee may not suffer repercussions or fear adverse actions based on their choice.