OSHA Updates COVID-19 Enforcement Guidance

Posted on 5/26/2020 by Roger Marks

OSHA last week released revised guidance concerning workplace safety compliance during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The revised guidance for area offices and compliance officers sets a framework for how OSHA will enforce workplace safety regulations in two types of geographic areas: Those were community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased and those experiencing elevated community transmission or a resurgence in cases.

In areas where community transmission has significantly decreased OSHA will return to business-as-usual for the most part. Officers will rely on the pre-COVID inspection planning policy in these areas. OSHA will continue to prioritize COVID-19 cases in these areas, however.

OSHA will take a different approach in areas where community transmission is sustained or experiencing a resurgence. In these areas, OSHA will prioritize COVID-19 fatalities and imminent danger exposures for inspection. Particular attention will be focused on high-risk workplaces like hospitals and healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients.

The updated enforcement guidance includes a number of exhibits for OSHA officers, including examples of how to cite the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act in coronavirus-related cases.

OSHA also released updated enforcement guidance specific to recording workplace cases of COVID-19. OSHA makes it clear that they will enforce the recordkeeping requirements for workplace illnesses and injuries for all employers. The guidance includes a discussion of how employers can determine the “work-relatedness” of a novel coronavirus case.

OSHA will rescind its previous COVID-19 enforcement memo on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Read more about OSHA's COVID-19 enforcement efforts. 

For links to more coronavirus-related OSHA guidance for employers, see our Coronavirus EHS News Hub.

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Tags: coronavirus, covid19, osha, reporting and recordkeeping, workplace safety

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