Under state law, employers must report positive COVID-19 cases among employees to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSB) within four hours of learning of the positive test result. The requirement to report a COVID-19 positive employee is found in Subsection 18.104.22.168 of New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC). Although the reporting rule is still in place, it is the intent of the Environment Department to petition the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) to rescind the COVID-19 Reporting Rule. Until the EIB hears and rules on amendment of the COVID-19 Reporting Rule, OHSB inspectors are exercising discretion with New Mexico employers and not issuing citations or penalties specific to the rule.
In December 2020, the EIB passed this rule requiring employers to report positive cases. OHSB is responsible for helping businesses understand the rule and assuring compliance. From 2020 through 2022, OHSB responded to more than 70,000 reported workplace exposures of COVID-19. Our OHSB staff helps employers protect employees, their customers and ensure continuity of business operations.
While COVID-19 remains a hazard to the New Mexico workforce, the availability of vaccines and antiviral treatments has reduced the health threat to the general public. NMED developed certain tools to inform the public about health concerns related to COVID-19 and the department evaluated these periodically to determine their relevance and efficacy as public health tools. The Rapid Response Watchlist was an important tool for the initial phases of the pandemic. However, the Rapid Response Watchlist no longer serves as a key tool to prevent the spread of this disease. NMED stopped publishing the Rapid Response Watchlist on August 16, 2022. As of November 11th, 2022 NMED is no longer accepting reporting of individual COVID 19 cases from employers.
Are employers still required to report all positive employees to the New Mexico Environment Department?
No, as of November 11th, 2022 employers are no longer required to report all cases of COVID-19 positive employees to the OHSB. Although the reporting rule is still in place, it is the intent of the Environment Department to petition the EIB to rescind the COVID-19 Reporting Rule. Until the EIB hears and rules on amendment of the COVID-19 Reporting Rule, OHSB inspectors are exercising discretion with New Mexico employers and not issuing citations or penalties specific to the rule.
How does the New Mexico Environment Department assist employers and workers who are experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak?
The OHSB has staff who specialize in health hazards including infectious disease, and COVID-19 response specialists who can answer questions and provide guidance to employers and workers. Workers may also contact the Bureau to file a complaint if they believe their employer is not providing a safe workplace, particularly in cases of exposure to known positive individuals, such as in healthcare settings.
Where can I find additional guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace?
Visit the OHSB’s main webpage for resources for employers and employees on how to request assistance or file a complaint. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and CDC also provide good resources on COVID-19 prevention.
How can I obtain historic data from the former Rapid Response Watchlist?
Download historic data from the Rapid Response Watchlist here . Because this data is no longer collected or consolidated as of August 16, 2022, data after that date is unavailable.