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To Record Vaccine Reactions Or Not - The Form 300 Question
Apr 28, 2021

To Record Vaccine Reactions Or Not - The Form 300 Question

Topics: COVID-19, OSHA Issues

Do either Cal/OSHA or Fed/OSHA require employers to record instances of reactions to COVID-19 vaccines as a “workplace” injury or illness on the “Form 300”?    

Fed/OSHA’s FAQs clarify that when an employer mandates vaccinations, illnesses or adverse reactions to the vaccine will be considered work-related and thus recordable on Form 300, as long as it is a: (1) new case and (2) meets one or more of the general recording criteria below:

  • death;
  • one or more days away from work;
  • restricted work or transfer to another job;
  • medical treatment beyond first aid;
  • loss of consciousness; or
  • a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional

(8 CCR 14300.7(b) – General Recording Criteria)

However, Fed/OSHA does not require employers to record vaccine-related illnesses or reactions where vaccination is optional.  Even if the employer offers the vaccine at the workplace and/or is paid for by the company, as long as it is optional, illness or reactions will not be subject to reporting.  Employee’s choice to get a vaccine must truly be voluntary, namely accepting or rejecting the vaccine must have no effect on employment status, good or bad.

Cal/OSHA has not issued a statement or updated its FAQs regarding how illness or reactions to vaccinations come into play under its emergency regulations.  While Cal/OSHA may eventually take the position of its federal counterpart, keep in mind that it does not have to. Cal/OSHA only needs to have enforcement procedures at least as effective as Fed/OSHA, and, as most employers have experienced, Cal/OSHA frequently has more stringent enforcement mechanisms. While it is hopeful that Cal/OSHA will adopt Fed/OSHA guidance concerning vaccine-related illnesses, we just do not know.  Therefore, until Cal/OSHA provides additional guidance, California employers should continue to record adverse vaccine reactions that occur in their workforce that meet any of the categories listed under 8 CCR 14300.7(b), IF the company (1) mandates vaccinations, or (2) offers, pays for, or encourages vaccinations for its employees. 

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For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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Sacramento Office Managing Partner and Chair of CDF’s Traditional Labor Law Practice Group. Mark has been practicing labor and employment law in California for thirty years. His practice has a special emphasis on the representation of California employers in union-management relations and handling federal and state court litigation and administrative matters triggered by all types of employment-related disputes. He is also adept at providing creative and practical legal advice to help minimize the risks inherent in employing workers in California. He recently named “Sacramento Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law-Management for 2021 by Best Lawyers®.
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