On May 28, 2020, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials informed members of Congress that the agency issued its first coronavirus-related citation within the last two weeks. In response to criticism, OSHA officials stated their preference for looser, industry-specific guidance instead of hard-and-fast rules, which OSHA contends will allow the agency to adapt to the latest science and accounts for differences in business sectors. But OSHA says this will not come at the expense of enforcement.
To that end, OSHA recently issued two enforcement memos regarding COVID-19 in the workplace. The first memo updates employers on the appropriate standard for recording COVID-19 illnesses resulting from workplace exposure. Revised Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The second memo provides guidance for employees when reporting COVID-19 illness or injury and guidance for compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) for investigating workplaces during the emergency. Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The updated protocols went into effect on May 26, 2020, and are effective as the current public health crisis continues to develop. Learn more here.