On, April 16, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued a memo on April 16 announcing that they would take “good faith” efforts into account during workplace inspections. The agency made this decision after acknowledging that some standards may be difficult to comply with due to the ongoing health emergency of COVID-19.
The memo states that, “widespread business closures, restrictions on travel, limitations on group sizes, facility visitor prohibitions, and stay-at-home or shelter-in-place requirements may limit the availability of employees, consultants, or contractors who normally provide training, auditing, equipment inspections, testing, and other essential safety and industrial hygiene services.”
The new guidance did not list an end date, stating that it will take effect “until further notice.”
How does OSHA determine a “good faith” effort?
In order for inspectors to consider an effort as good faith, compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) will assess an employer’s efforts to comply with standards that require annual or recurring audits, reviews, training, or assessments.
The following will be considered:
- Did an employer thoroughly explore all options to comply with an applicable standard? (e.g. the use of virtual training)
- In situations where compliance was not possible, did employers ensure that employees were not exposed to hazards from tasks, processes, or equipment for which they were not prepared or trained?
- Were interim alternative protections implemented or provided to protect employees, such as engineering or administrative controls?
- Did the employer take steps to reschedule to required annual activity as soon as possible?
If employers cannot demonstrate any efforts to comply, citations may then be issued under the existing enforcement policy. However, if good faith efforts have been made, then area OSHA offices will take it into “strong consideration” when deciding whether to cite a violation.
Employers should keep documentation of these efforts, as they can help support the decision.
The annex of the memo details five scenarios in which an employer would not be cited. Those five scenarios include: Annual audiograms, annual process safety management requirements, hazardous waste operations training, respirator fit testing and training, maritime crane training and certification and construction crane operator certification.
Making a Good Effort for Medical Testing
Medical resources are especially limited during this pandemic. However, there are companies dedicated to bringing safe testing services directly to your worksite.
At Worksite Medical, we’re staffed with experienced licensed physicians and medical technicians. We’re here to help you avoid the risk of sending your team to a public, off-site testing location with mobile medical surveillance testing, which includes audiometric exams, respirator fit testing, blood work, and coronavirus symptom screening.
Fill out the form below to schedule an on-site visit, or to get a free quote.
OSHA is currently developing a plan to conduct monitoring inspections from a randomized sampling of cases where violations were noted but not cited, once normal activities resume.
CSHOs have been directed to enter the code N-10-ABATEMENT DEFFERED into the OSHA Information System to denote such cases. The administration plans to offer additional guidance on monitoring at a later date.
Make sure to check out our coronavirus resources page to stay up-to-date with EHS updates during the pandemic.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as pulmonary function test and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!