OSHA has issued an “interim enforcement response plan”, effective immediately, to guide its field offices in conducting evaluations of workplace safety for protections against COVID-19. The plan requires that OSHA inspectors be judicious in use of in-person worksite inspections, and that they be trained in how to identify workers who likely have COVID-19. The inspectors must also be provided personal protective equipment and decontamination products.
Among other things, the enforcement plan:
- provides guidance for assessing the COVID-19 risk level of a workplace to determine whether it should be raised in priority for an in-person inspection;
- provides guidance for determining whether an in-person inspection should even be conducted;
- encourages inspectors to rely heavily on electronic communications like phone interviews and videoconferences;
- requires consideration of the shortage of protective equipment like masks and respirators in assessing respiratory protection compliance;
- repeats criteria OSHA laid out in an earlier guidance for when a COVID-19 case is a recordable workplace injury–(i) a confirmed COVID-19 infection as defined by CDC; (ii) work-related as defined in OSHA regulations; and (iii) meets at least one recording criteria under existing OSHA regulations