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Discretion in OSHA Enforcement During COVID-19

Posted on 4/23/2020 by Lauren Scott

Last week, OSHA released a memo stating that the Agency will consider an employer’s “good-faith efforts” prior to any enforcement action in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

With widespread business closures, travel restrictions, limitations on group gatherings, and stay-at-home or shelter-in-place directives, it may be difficult to provide OSHA-required inspections, audits, and safety oversights.

OSHA will continue to issue citations for workplace safety violations. That said, agency personnel will consider any efforts an employer makes to follow safety regulations prior to any enforcement actions. This may include alternative protections, such as engineering or administrative controls.

Where regulatory compliance is not possible, companies are expected to ensure employees are not exposed to hazards from tasks, processes, or equipment that they were not trained for. Employers must also demonstrate that they exhausted all options to comply with OSHA regulations, such as utilizing virtual training or remote communication strategies.

After completing an OSHA inspection during which there one or more violations are found that do not result in a citation, OSHA will continue to monitor and reassess the workplace to ensure corrective actions are made when available.

Convenient, Reliable Online OSHA Training

Lion’s full suite of online OSHA safety training can help ensure your team is prepared for new and changing responsibilities. Start, pause, and finish your required safety training at your own pace, when it’s most convenient for you. Each course is packed with engaging, real-word exercises to boost retention and robust resources that you can refer back to when you’re on the job.

10-Hour OSHA General Industry
Hazard Communication (English or Spanish)
Health and Safety Management
Asbestos Safety (English or Spanish)
Intro to Industrial Hygiene
Intro to Job Hazard Analysis

Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, enforcement, osha, OSHA compliance, osha memo, safety hazards, workplace hazards, workplace safety

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