OSHA outlines pandemic response enforcement plan measures

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

An interim enforcement response plan for the coronavirus pandemic provides guidance to Occupational Safety and Health Administration Area Offices plus compliance safety and health officers (CSHO) for handling coronavirus-related complaints, referrals or severe illness reports. Effectively immediately, it contains what OSHA Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt calls “commonsense procedures for investigating complaints related to the coronavirus while also ensuring the safety of workers, employers, and inspectors.” 

Fatalities and imminent danger exposures related to the coronavirus will be prioritized for on-site inspections. In addition, the plan contains procedures and sample documentation for CSHO to use during coronavirus-related inspections. Workers requesting inspections, complaining of coronavirus exposure, or reporting illnesses may be protected under one or more whistleblower statutes and are to be informed of their protections from retaliation. 

During the coronavirus outbreak, OSHA affirms, Area Offices will utilize inspection resources to fulfill mission essential functions and protect workers exposed to the disease, while interim procedures allow flexibility and discretion to maximize the agency’s impact in securing safe workplaces in an evolving environment. “Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019” is posted here.