OSHA Issues Second Set of Coronavirus-Related Citations

Proskauer - Law and the Workplace

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has now issued its second set of coronavirus-related citations, this time against an Ohio health-care company.  OSHA inspected three of the company’s nursing facilities from April to June after the company reported the coronavirus-related hospitalization of seven employees.  On July 21, 2020, OSHA announced that it issued citations to each of the three locations with “Serious” violations for failing to develop a comprehensive written respiratory protection program and failing to provide medical evaluations to determine employees’ ability to use a respirator in the workplace.  OSHA additionally issued a Hazard Alert Letter regarding the company’s practice of instructing employees to use the same N95 respirator for up to seven days and not conducting initial fit testing of respirators.  OSHA fined the company $13,494 for each facility’s violation, for a total of $40,482.

OSHA issued its first citation from a coronavirus-related inspection in May against a Georgia nursing home for failing to report the hospitalization of six employees within 24 hours as required.  OSHA classified this violation as “Other-Than-Serious.”  The proposed penalty was initially $6,506 but OSHA agreed to a 40% reduction of the total penalty to $3,903.60 because of the level of violation, the belief that the nursing home understood how to correct these issues in the future, and the good faith the nursing home exhibited.

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