November 12, 2020

OSHA Releases Most Frequently Cited Standards from COVID-19 Inspections

New guidance announced by OSHA on Nov. 6 highlights the standards that are cited most frequently during workplace inspections related to COVID-19. The new guidance is intended to help protect workers and increase compliance with OSHA requirements by calling attention to the standards employers have most frequently failed to follow. A one-page summary (PDF) accompanying the guidance provides a brief overview of often-cited standards from coronavirus-related inspections. OSHA’s new guidance is based on data from citations issued as a result of complaints, referrals, and fatalities in industries such as healthcare, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and meat and poultry processing plants.

According to OSHA, employers are most commonly neglecting to follow requirements such as providing a medical evaluation before a worker is fit-tested or uses a respirator; performing an appropriate fit test for workers using tight-fitting respirators; and assessing the workplace to determine if certain or probable COVID-19 hazards are present. Employers are also failing to establish, implement, and update a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures; train workers to safely use respirators or other personal protective equipment in the workplace; and store respirators and PPE properly to protect them from damage and contamination. Other frequently cited standards have to do with recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses.

The full guidance document (PDF) contains a table listing the exact OSHA standards that are frequently cited, descriptions of violations, and additional resources and related information.