OSHA releases guidance on frequently cited standards in COVID-19 inspections

Nov. 15, 2020

The 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 (COVID-19)-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 health care, 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 ProtectionRecording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and IllnessesPersonal 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 personal protective equipment (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. 

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