OSHA has updated its National Emphasis Program, which targets industries with a high COVID-19 contraction risk, including healthcare; meat and poultry processing; grocery and department stores; postal service; warehousing and storage; restaurants; and correctional institutions.
Healthcare employers must comply with the ETS and ETS Inspection Procedures released on June 28th. Non-Healthcare employers must comply with the revised Interim Enforcement Response Plan. All employers should be prepared for on-site or virtual OSHA inspections, with phone/video conferencing when necessary. Inspectors will be looking for compliance with the ETS and the General Duty Clause.
The Enforcement Response Plan requires Inspectors to ensure Non-Healthcare employers have:
- Followed CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 prevention.
- Complied with respirator protection standards. There were exceptions for employers with supply issues in the past. No longer any exceptions.
- Established physical barriers and social distancing.
- Screening processes for everyone entering the building.
- Provided personal protective equipment to all employees.
- Established a cleaning and disinfection routine.
The ETS requires Inspectors to ensure Healthcare employers comply with the above and have:
- Written a COVID-19 Plan.
- Conducted a hazard assessment.
- Ensured HVAC systems are maximizing outside air circulation and have the highest filter standard, ideally MERV 13 or above.
- Written records of exposure and COVID-19+ incidents.
- Removed employees who are COVID-19+, suspected to be COVID-19+, or exposed to COVID-19+.
- Provided medical benefits to removed employees.
- Granted leave to employees to be vaccinated and recover.
- Training on the ETS.
Employers who retaliate against employees for exercising their right to protections under the ETS will be cited seriously.
Inspections for COVID-19 fatalities, multiple hospitalizations, and unprogrammed activities creating COVID-19 related hazards are the priority.
For help with OSHA matters, please call (312) 894-3322 or fill out our contact form.