OSHA Eases Enforcement Measures During COVID-19 Pandemic
Originally published by: OSHA — April 16, 2020
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On April 16, OSHA issued a memo to its regional administrators regarding “Discretion in Enforcement when Considering an Employer’s Good Faith Efforts During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic,” which will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. The memo highlights that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, OSHA understands that some employers may face difficulties complying with OSHA standards due to the ongoing health emergency. 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.
During the course of an inspection, OSHA Area Offices will assess an employer's efforts to comply with standards that require annual or recurring audits, reviews, training, or assessments, and evaluate whether the employer has made good faith efforts to comply with applicable OSHA standards and, in situations where compliance was not possible, to ensure that employees were not exposed to hazards from tasks, processes, or equipment for which they were not prepared or trained. The guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis.
Please review the memorandum in its entirety for additional detail on these provisions. For more information about COVID-19 please visit OSHA’s COVID-19 webpage and CDC's COVID-19 webpage.