As previously discussed on the OSHA Defense Report blog, on April 10, 2020, Federal OSHA issued enforcement guidance for recording cases of COVID-19, relaxing recordkeeping enforcement for employers other than those in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting, and law enforcement services), and correctional institutions. Unfortunately, the guidance does not mandate that State Plan States follow suit, and not all states with approve OSH Programs have announced whether they will be following Fed OSHA’s guidance.
The state of Washington has not published any guidance on that issue one way or the other. But here is what we have learned from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (“DLI”) Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“DOSH”).
As a threshold matter, as we know from Fed OSHA recordkeeping, among other requirements, for an injury or illness to be recordable, it must be “work-related.” The language of Washington DLI’s recordkeeping regulation regarding assessing work-relatedness mirrors the Fed OSHA regulation. They both state that an employer:
“must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a preexisting injury or illness.”
Work-relatedness is presumed for injuries and illnesses resulting from events or exposures that occur in the work environment, unless an enumerated exception applies, and the work-relatedness exceptions for Fed OSHA and Washington are also the same.
Effective April 1, 2017, a new California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“Standards Board”) regulation at Title 8, Section 3342 requires certain employers in the health care industry to develop and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan. The passage of these regulations came after nearly two years of meeting and work within the Agency, and more than two years after the California legislature passed Senate Bill 1299, which instructed the Standards Board to implement these workplace violence regulations.
Rules Apply to Health Care Facilities
Senate Bill 1299 only directed the Standards Board to adopt regulations requiring licensed hospitals to adopt violence prevention plans to protect health care workers and other facility personnel from aggressive and violent behavior. The regulations that were adopted by the Standards Board, however, apply not just to licensed hospitals, but more broadly to any “health facility,” defined as:
“any facility, place or building that is organized, maintained, and operated for diagnosis, care, prevention or treatment of human illness, physical or mental…to which  persons are admitted for a 24-hour stay or longer.”
Additionally, the regulations apply to the following facilities regardless of their size or how long a patient stays there:
Home health care and home-based hospice;
Emergency medical services and medical transport, including services provided by firefighters and other emergency responders;
Drug treatment programs;
Outpatient medical services to the incarcerated in correctional and detention settings.
Immediate Requirement to Begin Reporting Violent Incidents
Beginning April 1, 2017, every general acute care hospital, acute psychiatric hospital and special hospital generally must report to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) any incident involving Continue reading →