As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is moving forward with enforcement of violations related to COVID-19. As of December 18, 2020, the agency has proposed penalties totaling $3,646,228.00. 
These citations have come as a result of more than 270 inspections and can be found at dol.gov/newsroom. These infractions have been cited to employers throughout all types of industries from hospitals to construction. OSHA also provides more information about individual citations at its Establishment Search website, which it updates periodically. You will see there has been an uptick in enforcement and violations issued.
OSHA inspections have resulted in the agency citing employers for violations, including failures to:
- Report an injury, illness, or fatality
- Record an injury or illness on OSHA recordkeeping forms
- Comply with the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
- Implement a written respiratory protection program
- Provide a medical evaluation, respirator fit test, training on the proper use of a respirator and personal protective equipment (PPE)
A full list of what standards were cited for each establishment – and the inspection number – is available here. An OSHA standards database can be found here. Resources are available on the agency’s COVID-19 webpage to help employers comply with these standards.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
Also, certain states have mandated training for COVID-19 to help ensure compliance with local and state guidance. To review the requirements for each state, see this chart.
For help with compliance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for assistance.
Publisher’s note: There has been updated guidance entitled “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” that was posted on U.S. OSHA’s website on January 29, 2021 in accordance with the “Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety” issued by President Biden on January 21, 2021. Just like other previous recommendations from U.S. OSHA this guidance does not have the same legal effect as an OSHA standard and is not mandatory. However, these workplace safety proposals and guidelines do provide some insight into what OSHA expects to include in an emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) that the Biden administration wants the agency to consider and potentially implement by March 15, 2021.