OSHA Updates Its COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Written July 28, 2020

Categories: First to Know

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its frequently asked questions and answers related to COVID-19. OSHA combined all frequently asked questions (FAQs) documents that address employer recommendations, related information generated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and additions to its own previously published information into one single FAQ website.

The FAQs have been grouped by topic for easier reference and are more user-friendly. OSHA defers to CDC guidelines for many of the answers to the questions and is careful to note that the FAQs are not a standard or a regulation, and, therefore, do not create any new legal obligations. The FAQs cover the following topics:

• General Information
• Cleaning and Disinfection
• Cloth Face Coverings
• Construction
• Employer Requirements
• Healthcare 
• Personal Protective Equipment
• Reporting
• Restrooms and Handwashing Facilities
• Retaliation
• Return to Work 
• Testing for COVID-19 
• Training
• Worker Protection Concerns

Following the guidance in the FAQs helps protect against OSHA taking an enforcement action against your company. While there have been some citations issued to employers for COVID-19-related violations, they are not common. Employee complaints result in a letter to the employer requesting very specific information on what the employer is doing to address COVID-19, but on-site inspections are rare.

There are requirements, such as the General Duty Clause noted above, that OSHA acknowledges it could use as the basis for citations against such an employer. The agency has successfully used the General Duty Clause to cite employers in cases involving workplace violence and heat stress, which have resulted in far fewer employee fatalities than coronavirus.

If you have any further questions, please contact PRINTING United Alliance’s Government Affairs team at govtaffairs@printing.org