The general rule under 1910.5(b)(2)(viii) is:
Not if the illness is the common cold or flu (Note: contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, hepatitis A, or plague are considered work-related if the employee is infected at work).
However,… during the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic, OSHA issued the following enforcement guidance:
Injury/Illness Records. CSHOs must review the employer’s injury and illness records to identify any workers with recorded illnesses or symptoms associated with exposure(s) to patients with suspected or confirmed 2009 H1N1 influenza.
a. For purposes of OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping, illnesses due to the 2009 H1N1 influenza is not considered a common cold or seasonal flu. The work-relatedness exception for the common cold or flu at 29 CFR 1904.5(b)(2)(viii) does not apply to these cases.
Employers are responsible for recording cases of 2009 H1N1 illness if all of the following requirements are met:
(1) the case is a confirmed case of 2009 H1N1 illness as defined by CDC;
(2) the case is work-related as defined by 1904.5; and
(3) the case involves one or more of the recording criteria set forth in 1904.7 (e.g., medical treatment, days away from work).
Let’s see how this year’s very challenging Flu season progresses, and how OSHA responds.