COVID-19/OSHA Enforcement: Guidance Issued Referencing Frequently Violated Standards During Inspections

Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.

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The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued on November 6th a guidance document titled:

Common COVID-19 Citations: Helping Employers Better Protect Workers and Comply with OSHA Regulations (“Guidance”)

The stated purpose of the Guidance is to help employers understand which OSHA standards have been cited most frequently during COVID-19 inspections.

The basis for the Guidance is stated to be:

. . . data from citations issued, many of which were the result of complaints, referrals and fatalities in industries such as hospitals and healthcare, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and meat/poultry processing plants.

The Guidance also provides resources available to address the most frequently cited standards such as:

  • Respiratory protection
  • Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • General Duty Clause

Examples of requirements employers must follow include:

  • Provide a medical evaluation before a worker is fit-tested or uses a respirator.
  • Establish, implement, and update a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures.
  • Train workers to safely use respirators and/or other personal protection equipment in the workplace, and retrain workers about changes in the workplace that might make previous training obsolete.
  • Store respirators and other personal protection equipment properly in a way to protect them from damage, contamination, and, where applicable, deformation of the facepiece and exhalation valve.
  • Keep required records of work-related fatalities, injuries, and illness.

A copy of the Guidance can be downloaded here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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