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OSHA Update: COVID-19 Violations and Penalties

Joey Stokes is the Director of Industrial Skills at Peak Performance. He is a former maintenance manager and an OSHA Authorized Instructor.

The OSHA General Duty Clause asserts that employers provide a safe working environment. Field investigators are looking for engineering controls, administrative controls, and PPE based on CDC recommendations as well as industry best practices. As of the end of 2020, OSHA has issued more than $3.9M in penalties to businesses for violations related to COVID-19. Of the nearly 300 inspections conducted, most of these violations are the results of:

  1. Failure to have a written plan.

  2. Failure to provide medical evaluations, improper fit testing, and improper or lack of training for respiratory protection.

  3. Failure to maintain the 300 logs and report accordingly.

All companies with 10 or more employees at any given time during the year are required to have a written safety plan which includes an infectious disease response plan. While an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is currently approved for healthcare, most general industry and construction employers are still being guided by general enforcement letters. The current enforcement guidance instructs us to complete a job hazard analysis (JHA) on possible aerosol disease exposures. We use these JHA’s to then plan our mitigation techniques. Our written policy will then review Prevention / Control plans, Quarantine Guidance, Training and Audits Procedures, and Emergency Response Plans.

If your employees are required to wear respirators (KN-95, N-95, N-99. N-100), it must be part of a complete respiratory protection program including training, fit testing, and medical evaluation. If your employees are voluntary wearing a respirator, you are allowed to use a 1910.134 Appendix D form. This form provides information to the user on how to fit and what precautions to take. Having the employee sign and date one of these forms will ensure you are compliant, just make sure it is only used voluntarily.

If an employee is confirmed COVID-19 and contact tracing discovers the case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5, the case may be considered a recordable/reportable. Just like any other work-related injuries, illness, or exposure, infectious disease (SARS-COV-2) is a recordable event.

If OSHA was to walk in today and inspect a complaint, would you be compliant? Could you show the documentation of your written plan, training, and audits? Have you trained your employees on the 8 OSHA-required topics? Did you know most states have grants available to help pay for some or all this training? Contact me at for details.


[Workplace Certification] Healthy Business Certification

Peak Performance offers a Healthy Business Certification through our Workplace Infectious Disease training course that can ensure you are providing a safe workplace for your employees and mitigate any penalties you could possibly receive. This course introduces employees to the basic practices of identifying, reducing, eliminating, and reporting hazards associated with their work. This training is designed for company COVID Coordinators, Safety & HR professionals or any company leadership who is wanting to understand what policies and procedures that they need to adopt to ensure a safe and healthy workplace and remain in compliance.

Participants will become familiar with the standards and regulations that OSHA, the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) have set in place to make sure all employees function in a healthy work environment. At the completion of this course and after submission of your business’ prevention plan, a Healthy Business Certification will be issued by the respective certification provider. Certification is good for one year and must be renewed annually.

Upcoming Certification Dates:

September 13th - 9:00am - 11:00am (Central Time)

(Any organization can attend this class, regardless if you are a TN business).

September 28th - 1:30pm - 3:30pm (Eastern Time)

(Any organization can attend this class, regardless if you are a NJ business).

October 4th - 10:00am - 12:00pm (Eastern Time)

(Any organization can attend this class, regardless if you are an IN business).


[Employee Certification] Employee Infectious Disease Training

Additionally, Peak Performance also offers individual employee safety training through our 1-hour, online, self-paced, Employee Infectious Disease Training course. This course is part of a subscription plan that includes 13 online safety training courses, which are accessed through our PEAK Workforce Training Center online training platform. If you need help deciding which plan is right for your business, schedule a quick 30-minute consultation with our PEAK Workforce Training Center Specialist.

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