Although serious illness and injury typically are rare occurrences in the dental practice, the likelihood of such illness or injury occurring has increased recently due to employees’ risk of acquiring COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
And the COVID-19 illness may be reportable if it occurred in the workplace and meets the definition of a serious illness under the Cal/OSHA regulation.
Employers in California are obligated to report to the nearest Cal/OSHA office any serious injury, illness or death of an employee if it occurred at the worksite or in connection with work. The report is required within eight hours of when the employer became aware of, or “with diligent inquiry” should have known of, the employee’s illness, injury or death.
Serious injury or illness is defined by the Cal/OSHA regulation as one in part that “requires inpatient hospitalization for other than medical observation or diagnostic testing.”
Guidance from the California Department of Industrial Relations elaborates:
“If a worker becomes ill while at work and is admitted as in-patient at a hospital ― regardless of the duration of the hospitalization ― the illness occurred in a place of employment, so the employer must report this illness to the nearest Cal/OSHA office.”
The DIR’s guidance also addresses frequently asked questions regarding employers’ liability, presentation of symptoms outside of work and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order on COVID-19 and workers’ compensation eligibility.
CDA members can reference Symptoms/Positive Test for COVID-19 and other guidance and resources developed by CDA’s Clinical Care Workgroup. Find them in the Back-to-Practice Resource Center.
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