On May 19th OSHA adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA’s requirements as more business reopen or return to full operations. Considering all that has been learned and effective measures of protection, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.
First, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. OSHA will continue to prioritize COVID-19 inspections and will utilize all enforcement tools as in the past. The expectation is that employers maintain a safe and healthy work environment, including protection from exposure to COVID-19 and other work-related exposures.
Second, OSHA is revising its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, OSHA considers coronavirus a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, if the case:
- Is confirmed as a coronavirus illness;
- Is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
- Involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.
OSHA’s guidance emphasizes that employers must take reasonable efforts, based on the evidence available to them, to ascertain whether a particular case of coronavirus is work-related. Following the Recordkeeping standard, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations; they need only report work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.