Are Companies Being Fined for Violating COVID-19 Protocols?
Yes, some companies have been issued fines for not protecting their employees from getting sick. Many companies are not aware that OSHA inspections are posted publicly on their website. Just take a look at this healthcare company in Cleveland, OH that was cited by OSHA for violating respiratory protection standards after seven employees were hospitalized for coronavirus-related issues.
OSHA previously issued a statement saying that they would take into consideration the employer’s effort to comply with OSHA regulations during an inspection. This makes us believe that if an employer is making an obvious effort to comply with COVID-19 safety and health protocols, OSHA will be more understanding during an inspection. If a business is blatantly disregarding protocols, that company can expect to see some hefty OSHA fines.
What Type of OSHA Fines Could be Issued?
During an OSHA inspection, the Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO), will look for violations relating to COVID-19 protocols set by OSHA and the CDC. Federal OSHA does not have a specific pandemic prevention regulation, but keeping employees safe from COVID-19 and similar pandemics does fall under OSHA’s General Duty Clause:
Under OSHA’s General Duty Clause, employers must keep employees safe from work related safety & health issues including the Coronavirus. Applicable standards also include PPE, Eye and Face Protection, Hand Protection, and Respiratory Protection standards. OSHA is advising employers to provide training to all workers with reasonably anticipated occupational exposure to COVID-19.
Pandemic Preparedness Plan
If you don’t already have a Pandemic Preparedness Plan, you need to act fast! Our Pandemic Preparedness Plan will cover the following information:
- Pandemic preparedness overview
- Employer and employee responsibilities
- Hazard recognition and exposure
- Workplace safety controls
- Procedures for identifying and isolation of potentially infectious employees
- Employee training and documentation