November 6, 2020
U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance Alerting Employers to Frequently
Cited Standards Related to COVID-19 Inspections
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance and an accompanying one-pager to help employers understand which standards are most frequently cited during coronavirus-related inspections. OSHA based these documents on 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 one-pager and guidance document provide available resources that address the most frequently cited standards, including Respiratory Protection, Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, Personal Protective Equipment and the General Duty Clause. The one-pager provides examples of requirements employers must follow, such as:
- 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 PPE in the workplace, and retrain workers about changes in the workplace that might make previous training obsolete.
- Store respirators and other PPE 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.
OSHA is providing the guidance to help employers protect workers and increase compliance with OSHA requirements.
OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses to identify workplace hazards, provides advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assists in establishing and improving safety and health programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.