Three Recent COVID-19 Safety Enforcement Actions by OSHA & Cal/OSHA
These actions underscore the importance for employers to encourage social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfecting, use and proper care of cloth face coverings, and use of PPE when necessary in order to keep workers safe from coronavirus.
Greenley, COAfter a coronavirus-related inspection, OSHA concluded that a meat packing facility in Colorado allegedly failed to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that could cause death or serious harm, a violation under the General Duty Clause.
According to OSHA, the company also failed to provide an authorized employee representative with injury and illness logs in a timely manner during another inspection.
OSHA proposed a fine of $15,615, the maximum permissible amount under the general duty clause.
Sioux Falls, SDOSHA recently cited a meat producer and distributor in South Dakota for failing to protect employees from exposure to the COVID-19.
Based on a coronavirus-related inspection, OSHA alleged the company violated the General Duty Clause for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that can cause death or serious harm. In the spring of 2020, at least 1,294 workers at the plant contracted COVID-19, four of which died from the virus.
OSHA has proposed a penalty of $13,494 and the company has 15 business days to comply and request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employer Responsibilities Under OSHA’s General Duty ClauseEmployers have a responsibility under the law to ensure the health and safety of their employees.
OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires employers to provide a workplace “free of recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his (or her) employees”[OSH Act, Section 5(a)(1)].
These requirements apply to preventing occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). OSHA has outlined specific measures employers can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, employers should:
- Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan.
- Establish policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick people.
- Implement workplace controls (i.e., frequent handwashing, installing physical barriers, and/or encouraging sick workers to stay home).
- Provide PPE when needed (i.e., gloves, face masks, respirators, goggles, face shields).
One More Citation from Cal/OSHAAlthough no specific COVID-19 safety measures are required by OSHA, many states have enacted their own COVID-19 workplace safety requirements, including California, Virginia, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, and New Mexico.
In fact, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Cal/OSHA, recently announced citations against a frozen food manufacturer that operates two facilities in Vernon, CA. According to the agency, the company failed to develop protocols to keep workers at least six feet apart.
The company also allegedly failed to investigate and report work-related COVID-19 infections. This included more than 20 infections and one fatality.
Cal/OSHA proposed a penalty of $222,075. The company has already fixed some of the deficiencies.
COVID-19 Safety Awareness Online TrainingTo help US workplaces safely resume and continue operations, Lion has launched the COVID-19 Employee Safety Awareness Online Course. As more employees nationwide return to work, it is crucial that they 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 a Post
I chose Lion's online webinar because it is simple, effective, and easily accessible.
Environmental Health & Safety Technician
The course was very informative and presented in a way that was easily understood and remembered. I would recommend this course.
Hazmat Shipping Professional
The price was reasonable, the time to complete the course was manageable, and the flexibility the online training allowed made it easy to complete.
Hazmat Shipping Professional
This course went above my expectations from the moment I walked in the door. The instructor led us through two days packed with useful compliance information.
Lion does a great job summarizing and communicating complicated EH&S-related regulations.
Sr. Environmental Engineer
I have been to other training companies, but Lion’s material is much better and easier to understand.
The instructor does a great job at presenting material in an approachable way. I have been able to save my company about $30,000 in the last year with what I have learned from Lion!
The instructor was energetic and made learning fun compared to dry instructors from other training providers.
International Trade Compliance Manager
Lion courses are the standard to which all other workshops should strive for!
Registered Environmental Health Specialist
These are the best commercial course references I have seen (10+ years). Great job!
EHS & Facility Engineer
Download Our Latest Whitepaper
What to do before, during, and after a RCRA hazardous waste inspection to defend your site from rising State and Federal penalties.