Federal OSHA announced on April 13 that it won’t be enforcing COVID-19 recordkeeping requirements.

The announcement reverses an earlier decision requiring that transmission of the virus in the workplace, unlike the flu or common cold, would be considered a recordable injury for the sake of OSHA reporting.

The agency said it would only require the reporting of COVID-19 cases for non-frontline employers if there was objective evidence that a case may be work-related without an alternative explanation and the evidence was reasonably evident to the employer.

It said the new order would allow companies to “focus on implementing good hygiene practices rather than “making difficult work-relatedness decisions.”

Some employers are still required to record COVID-19 cases among their staff, including health care entities, emergency response outfits and correctional institutions.

OSHA complaints rise

The change comes as OSHA is flooded with COVID-19 complaints from workers reporting safety breaches in relation to the pandemic, across a range of industries and regions of the country.

Employment law attorneys say that shortly after the outbreak got a foothold in the U.S., OSHA started receiving complaints and began sending letters to employers telling them to respond by a certain time. But the agency has seen such a flood of complaints that the letters no longer require a response, and instead direct businesses to OSHA guidance and resources on how to address COVID-19 risk in the workplace.

The federal agency has received thousands of inquiries regarding COVID-19. And individual state OSHAs also report a spike in COVID-19 complaints by workers against their employers. Most are from health care workers, but others are from workers in other essential industries like grocery stores, warehouses, delivery operators, and more.

But while Fed OSHA may not be requiring employers to respond to complaints concerning coronavirus safety complaints, many state plans are in fact requiring employers to provide in-depth responses ― and some are actively investigating complaints.

What employers should do

If you have employees who are not working from home and are being exposed to the coronavirus to some degree while at work, you should have in place a plan to reduce the possibility of exposure. Your controls could include:

  • Shields around workspaces or workers.
  • Requiring the use of face masks and surgical gloves.
  • Placing sanitizing gel in strategic locations in the workplace.
  • Using personal protective equipment.
  • Spacing personnel apart from each other to ensure appropriate distancing.
  • Staggering work shifts.
  • Frequently wiping down high-touch areas with an alcohol-type solution.

The key to protecting your workers and being able to provide a defense should OSHA conduct a workplace investigation is to show that you did all you could to mitigate hazards to your employees.

There are no guidelines for COVID-19 in OSHA’s regulations currently, but its General Duty Clause requires that you take appropriate precautions to protect your workers.

Nils Wright
Author: Nils Wright

26 Comments

  1. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant
    for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out
    a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!

  2. I have been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours today, yet I by no means found any fascinating
    article like yours. It’s pretty value sufficient for me.
    Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content material as you probably did, the net shall be much more helpful
    than ever before.

  3. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert
    that I get actually loved account your weblog posts.

    Any way I will be subscribing for your augment or even I achievement you get right of entry to constantly rapidly.

  4. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask.

    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe
    guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site addresses a lot of the
    same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.

    If you might be interested feel free to send me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog by the way!

  5. Howdy! This blog post could not be written much better!
    Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will
    forward this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it,
    you could be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and
    may come back in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great work, have a nice day!

  7. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire
    someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as
    I’m looking to design my own blog and would
    like to know where u got this from. thank you

  8. Normally I don’t learn post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured
    me to try and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me.
    Thank you, very great post.

    Feel free to surf to my web page buy CBD

  9. I am now not certain where you’re getting your info, but good topic.
    I must spend some time finding out much more
    or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I used to be looking for this info for my mission.

  10. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having
    trouble locating it but, I’d like to send you an email.
    I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to
    seeing it improve over time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Post comment