Federal OSHA has recently released guidance advising on employer health and safety obligations when employers require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Specifically, OSHA addresses the potential (albeit rare to date) of an employee who incurs an adverse reaction to a mandated vaccination. In such a situation, the reaction will be deemed “work-related.”

The ultimate effect of this guidance is that if the adverse reaction involves days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job or medical treatment beyond first aid, it will be considered a “recordable” incident. In other words, the reaction will be part of the record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses that OSHA requires most companies with more than 10 workers to maintain and make available to their employees.

By contrast, employers that simply recommend vaccination to their employees are not required to record an adverse reaction as work-related. For more information, read our Legal Update, New OSHA guidance for employers on COVID vaccines.