As the United States economy starts to reopen, business owners might be wondering what the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) plans to do about enforcing the safety of their employees and if we are really safe to even reopen. OSHA’s main goal is to get each employee home safely from work every day. They’re responsible for setting regulations and also enforcing the laws. OSHA has released two revised enforcement policies that business owners should be aware of.
OSHA’s 2 Revised Enforcement Policies
1. Revised OSHA Recordkeeping Requirement for COVID-19
Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness. That means that employers are responsbile for recording cases of the coronavirus. Check out our blog article on how to record cases of the coronavirus.
2. OSHA is Increasing In-Person Inspections
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) will be increasing in-person inspections of all businesses, not just essential businesses. They will be prioritizing COVID-19 Inspections which means all business owners need to know the protocols for keeping their workplace safe.
OSHA Standards That May Apply to the Coronavirus
OSHA has received some criticism over the lack of regulations pertaining to COVID-19. Former Assistant Secretary of Labor, Dr. David Michaels, was even quoted in an article saying that “OSHA is hiding“. State Senators wrote a letter to Eugene Scalia, Secretary of Labor asking him to ensure that “workers are meaningfully protected from COVID-19”.
Under OSHA’s General Duty Clause, employers must keep employees safe from work related safety & health issues including the Coronavirus. Applicable standards also include PPE, Eye and Face Protection, Hand Protection, and Respiratory Protection standards. OSHA is advising employers to provide training to all workers with reasonably anticipated occupational exposure to COVID-19.
As enacted by 29 U.S.C. 651 (listed as 15 U.S.C. 651 in the Paycheck Protection Plan application) – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can require businesses to modify facilities and procedures to protect their employees. In order to apply for the Paycheck Protection Plan, employers must certify that they are in compliance with OSHA, to the best of their knowledge.
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That’s not all – in addition to OSHA’s General Duty Clause, other common, enforceable standards include:
OSHA is Offering “Enforcement Flexibility”
OSHA has released a statement that they recognize the fact that employers might experience challenges in complying with certain provisions of the agency’s standards – obtaining proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as an example. Therefore, OSHA plans to offer “enforcement flexibility” for specific provisions of certain standards. This means that companies that are operating in good faith, might be granted some leniency if they’re unable to find N95 masks, etc.
OSHA does not have a specific COVID-19 regulation, but keeping employees safe from COVID-19 does fall under OSHA’s General Duty Clause.
Pandemic Preparedness Program, Training & Consultations
Don’t wait for OSHA to knock on your door, be prepared! Lancaster Safety is offering the resources your business needs in order to keep your employees safe at work. Give us a call at 888-4013-6026 to discuss what OSHA requirements apply to your business and see how we can help!