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COVID-19 OSHA Citations and How to Avoid them

Author • Katie Palmer

COVID-19 OSHA Citations and How to Avoid them

Date: 2022/03/24


Most Common OSHA COVID-19 Citations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for upholding workplace standards. OSHA cites and fines employers who are not adequately protecting their employees from hazards in the workplace.

COVID-19 is a new hazard. When employers aren’t protecting their employees from COVID-19, OSHA steps in and issues fines. According to OSHA, since the start of the pandemic, they have “issued citations arising from 300 inspections for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $3,930,381.”

Recently, OSHA released a list of common COVID-19 citations. This blog post outlines these COVID-19 citations, and also gives guidance on how to avoid citations.

Here are the types of OSHA citations you’ll learn about:

  • Respiratory protection standard
  • Reporting and recording OSHA requirements
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • General duty clause

Respiratory Protection Standard

Due to COVID-19, many healthcare and dental personnel are required to wear respirators. If any of your workers wear a respirator, you need to follow OSHA’s respiratory protection standard.

  • Medical Evaluations: Conduct complete medical evaluations for all respirator users. A licensed healthcare professional needs to approve employees to use respirators based on their health. Dentists can do this.
  • Fit Tests: Fit test employees for the respirator they will wear initially and annually. Administer fit tests according to OSHA’s standards. Record the fit test information. You only need to fit test required users of respirators.
  • Respiratory Protection Program: Create complete written programs, and assign a Program Administrator.
  • Training and Information: Provide comprehensive training before the user wears a respirator. Retrain employees about changes in the workplace regarding respirators. Also, ensure that employees can demonstrate their respirator knowledge.
  • General Requirements: Respirators need to be NIOSH-certified. Select respirators that adequately protect against the hazard.
  • Maintenance and Care: Store respirators properly to protect them from damage and contamination. Also, when storing respirators for reuse, clearly label who used the respirator.

Recording and Reporting Occupational Illnesses to OSHA

COVID-19 is an illness covered by the OSHA recording and reporting standards.

  • Reporting:Report within 8 hours of knowing that an employee died from a work-related case of COVID-19. It’s better to overreport rather than underreport if you don’t know if the case was work-related.
  • Recording:Keep records of fatalities, injuries, and illnesses that are work-related.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Standard

Since COVID-19 is a workplace hazard, OSHA requires that you provide your employees with PPE.

  • Hazard Assessment: Conduct an annual Job Hazard Assessment (JHA). When new hazards are introduced to the workplace (in this case, COVID-19), it is time to reassess. Assess your workplace to see if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, that require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Equipment Selection: Select and require the use of PPE. Make it clear to your employees why you selected certain PPE. What hazards does that PPE protect your employees from? Explain it to them, so they understand the importance of following PPE requirements. Also, PPE needs to properly fit your employees.
  • Documentation: Properly document in writing that the JHA was performed.
  • Application:Provide, use, and maintain PPE in a sanitary and reliable condition.
  • Training:Provide training to all employees that are required to use PPE.

General Duty Clause

OSHA requires employers to provide a workplace free from hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees. COVID-19 is one of these hazards.

  • Workplace Free From Hazards: Protect employees from workplace COVID-19 hazards. For example, install plastic barriers, ensure social distancing, sanitize your workplace, and provide COVID-19 education.

Need more OSHA help?

Hopefully this article helped you understand what actions will help you avoid an OSHA fine.

But if you need more help, Smart Training’s Platinum+ Dental Solution, Dental Essentials, and Complete Medical Compliance feature your own personal Compliance Officer. Your Compliance Officer will answer your compliance questions. Once a year, they will inspect your office to ensure you are OSHA compliant. After your inspection, you will receive detailed, written recommendations for changes your office should make to reach OSHA compliance. We also ensure you have all the required training and Written Safety Programs.

These packages also include site-specific written respiratory protection programs and online respirator training modules.

Request a demonstration if you have none of the above plans and still want respiratory protection. Put your compliance on autopilot with Smart Training.

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