OSHA has revised policies for enforcing coronavirus-related policies. COVID-19 was always deemed a reportable incident among employers. As states and businesses re-align and re-open at varying capacities, changes are coming.
- OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all workplaces with a priority on COVID-19 inspections.
- Under existing recordkeeping requirements, employers are responsible for recording coronavirus if there is a confirmed illness, the case is work-related, and involves one or more of general recording criteria, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.
- Under the new policy, OSHA will enforce recordkeeping requirements for employee coronavirus illnesses for all employers.
Vantage Point helps companies and agencies through three primary assessments:
- A review of the physical space and work environment. Here, we’re looking for things the inspectors are going to look for. In many cases, this includes fire hazards, too. VPC has numerous fire safety professionals on staff capable of immediately identifying unsafe or non-compliant doors, walls, carts, and other equipment. Additionally, we’re looking for social distancing guidelines, safety barriers, and other COVID-19 related issues.
- A review of plans and written procedures. These include evacuation procedures and new cleaning and sanitation procedures. These written policies will be requested by OSHA auditors. We can help you identify missing or incomplete sections in these documents.
- A review of your existing records and reported incidents. These new recordkeeping enforcement policies can mean violations and penalties for companies that do not maintain complete and accurate records of employee incidents. VPC can help you review these before they result in a fine.
OSHA notes that employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations. However, those employers still need to report work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
As a matter of practice, employers of any size should consider an outside review before OSHA inspectors arrive — and they will arrive. The cost of a review is far less than the cost of fines and violations, bad publicity from an outbreak, or significant loss of staff time due to injury or illness.