On May 19, OSHA issued an update to their Coronavirus Enforcement Response Plan. The updated plan generally returns to a pre-COVID-19 inspection policy while making COVID-19 related cases a priority. The updated plan provides guidance for OSHA compliance safety and health officers (CSHO’s) for handling COVID-19 related complaints, referrals, and illness reports.
In geographic areas where community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased, OSHA will return to the inspection planning policy that OSHA relied on prior to the start of the COVID-19 health crisis.
In geographic areas experiencing either sustained elevated community transmission or a resurgence in community transmission of COVID-19, OSHA Area Directors will exercise their discretion to prioritize COVID-19 fatalities and imminent danger exposures for inspection. Particular attention for on-site inspections will be given to high-risk workplaces, such as hospitals and other healthcare providers treating patients with COVID-19, as well as workplaces, with high numbers of complaints or known COVID-19 cases.
In an effort to manage resources effectively, OSHA may utilize non-formal phone/fax investigations or rapid response investigations in circumstances where OSHA has historically performed on-site inspections; and in all instances the Area Director (AD) will ensure that CSHOs utilize the appropriate precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE) when performing inspections related to COVID-19.
This new memorandum rescinds OSHA’s prior April 13, 2020 Interim Enforcement Memorandum and will be effective on May 26, 2020 and will remain in effect until further notice.
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