By better understanding which workplace hazards are the most common source of violations, employers can ensure they are adequately protecting workers and staying compliant.
The General Duty Clause
One of the most frequently cited standards involving COVID-19 violations is the General Duty Clause.
Employers will be cited under this clause if they fail to create a workplace environment that is free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause serious harm or death to employees. This includes protecting employees from COVID-19 hazards by measures such as, for example, installing plastic barriers or ensuring social distancing.
Respiratory Protection Program
Employers were fined under the respiratory protection program if they failed to do the following:
- Establish, implement, or update a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures
- Include specific provisions in their respiratory protection program, including procedures for: medical evaluations, fit-testing, and regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the program
- Designate a qualified program administrator to administer or oversee the program and conduct the required evaluations of program effectiveness
- Provide respirator users with the mandatory information from Appendix D (Information for Employees Using Respirators When not Required Under Standard)
Personal Protective Equipment
Violations of personal protective equipment standards have been common, specifically for hazard assessment and equipment selection, application, and training. Most of these violations occurred in the healthcare sector and involved medical face masks, face shields, and gowns.
Violations for failure to provide adequate training spans across industry. Employers are required to provide training to each employee who is required to use PPE.
Injury and Illness Recordkeeping
These are the two most common violations for recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses:
- Recording criteria: The employer did not keep records of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses that were work-related
- Reporting fatalities, hospitalizations, and amputations as a result of work-related incidents to OSHA: The employer did not report a fatality to OSHA within eight hours of the death of any employee as a result of a work-related incident.
Key Takeaways for Employers About COVID-19 Violations
In a separate document, OSHA provided several requirements that employers should remember, including:
- Provide a medical evaluation before a worker is fit tested or uses a respirator.
- Establish, implement and update a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures.
- Educate workers on how to safely use respirators and/or other PPE, and inform them of changes in the workplace that could make previous training obsolete.
- Store respirators and other PPE properly, in a way that protects them from damage, contamination, and, where applicable, deformation of the facepiece and exhalation valve.
- Keep records of work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses.
Both of these documents included a link to OSHA’s on-site consultation program, which offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses.
Another great resource for employers is to utilize medical surveillance. Worksite Medical can come directly to your worksite with mobile medical units that offer all the resources of an off-site lab.
Keep workers healthy and safe while remaining OSHA compliant.
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 tests 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!