OSHA issued two citations to a New Jersey-based healthcare provider for allegedly failing to protect employees from coronavirus-related hazards, resulting in the deaths of two workers.
Following COVID-19 outbreaks at two of its facilities in Howell and Lumberton,
the employer allegedly failed to develop and implement timely, effective measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. Mitigation tactics recommended by OSHA included isolating clients suspected of having the coronavirus and notifying staff who worked with these clients about the associated risks.
The employer also allegedly failed to develop and implement a respiratory protection program, distribute NIOSH-certified respirators to employees who provided care to potentially-contagious clients, and provide effective training in the use, cleaning and storage of a respirator.
The alleged violations exposed multiple workers in various locations to COVID-19, according to OSHA.
OSHA cited the company with a serious violation of the respiratory protection Standard and a serious violation of the OSH Act General Duty Clause that requires employers to ensure workplaces are free of recognized hazards that may cause death or serious physical harm.
Proposed penalties total $27,306.
Final OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Standard Now Complete
OSHA's COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS
) was published to the Federal Register on June 21, 2021. Employers in the healthcare industry must comply with most of the rule’s requirements by July 6, 2021.
Employers have until July 21 to comply with requirements in paragraph (i), (k), and (n) concerning physical barriers, ventilation, and employee COVID-19 training, respectively.
OSHA will accept stakeholders’ comments on the new COVID-19 ETS until August 20, 2021.
OSHA Expands COVID-19 Inspections Under New NEP
To account for the latest information on COVID-19, vaccination guidance, and PPE availability, OSHA has revised its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on coronavirus-related safety inspections. The NEP now provides more details about inspections at healthcare and non-healthcare facilities.
Read more: OSHA Expands COVID-19 Inspections Under New NEP
COVID-19 Safety Awareness Online Training
Lion launched the COVID-19 Employee Safety Awareness Online Course
to help US workplaces re-open safely. As facilities nationwide begin to do so, it is crucial that employees know how to protect themselves and their co-workers from exposure to COVID-19.
The course prepares employees to:
- Recognize signs, symptoms, and risk factors for COVID-19.
- Describe how the COVID-19 disease is transmitted.
- Follow recommended hygiene and work protocols to prevent exposure.
- Properly use and care for PPE and face coverings, when required.
Find more resources to help your facility protect employees from COVID-19 at Lion.com/COVID19