OSHA Citation Lessons COVID-19 – November 2020

Shared from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration DOL-OSHA-OOC-2020-108

Lessons Learned: Frequently Cited Standards Related to COVID-19 Inspections

In conducting COVID-19-related inspections, OSHA has frequently cited employers for violating certain standards. Employers can learn more about those frequently-cited standards and relevant resources in OSHA’s in-depth analysis of Common COVID-19 Citations. Employers must be vigilant to meet all OSHA requirements. The following are examples, to date, of requirements that employers have most frequently failed to follow:

  • Provide a medical evaluation before a worker is fit-tested or uses a respirator.
  • Perform an appropriate fit test for workers using tight-fitting respirators.
  • Assess the workplace to determine if COVID-19 hazards are present, or likely to be present, which will require the use of a respirator and/or other personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Establish, implement, and update a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures.
  • Provide an appropriate respirator and/or other PPE to each employee when necessary to protect the health of the employees (ensuring the respirator and/or PPE used is the correct type and size).
  • Train workers to safely use respirators and/or other PPE in the workplace, and retrain workers about changes in the workplace that might make previous training obsolete.
  • Store respirators and other PPE properly in a way to protect them from damage, contamination, and, where applicable, deformation of the facepiece and exhalation valve.
  • For any fatality that occurs within 30 days of a work-related incident, report the fatality to OSHA within eight hours of finding out about it.
  • Keep required records of work-related fatalities, injuries, and illness.

Employers are also encouraged to learn more about OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program, which offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses.

This information does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. It contains summaries of mandatory safety and health standards, and employers should consult the text of the applicable standard in determining their obligations. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply with safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, the Act’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.