OSHA issues coronavirus guidance
17 April 2020
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced an interim enforcement response plan which provides guidance for handling coronavirus-related complaints, referrals and severe illness reports.
These instructions and guidance are intended to serve as resources for OSHA Area Offices and compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) to fulfill mission essential functions and protect workers exposed to the disease.
The response plan contains interim procedures that allow flexibility and discretion for field offices to maximise OSHA’s impact in securing safe workplaces in this evolving environment.
“OSHA is committed to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers during this challenging time in our nation’s history,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt said. “Today’s guidance outlines commonsense procedures for investigating complaints related to the coronavirus, while also ensuring the safety of workers, employers, and inspectors.”
The response plan outlines procedures for addressing reports of workplace hazards related to the coronavirus. Fatalities and imminent danger exposures related to the coronavirus will be prioritised for on-site inspections.
The response plan contains procedures and sample documentation for CSHOs to use during coronavirus-related inspections. Workers requesting inspections, complaining of coronavirus exposure, or reporting illnesses may be protected under one or more whistleblower statutes and will be informed of their protections from retaliation.
This memorandum is effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice. It is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis. Check OSHA’s webpage at www.osha.gov/coronavirus for updates.