Virginia Lawyers Weekly//November 29, 2022
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//November 29, 2022//
The Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General has found that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did not sufficiently protect workers from COVID-19 during the earlier part of the pandemic.
The OIG report, issued on Oct. 31, found that OSHA:
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA must issue a citation for a violation unless the area director decides otherwise. But in its report, the OIG found that OSHA didn’t have a policy to ensure that area offices issued the required citations or documented a determination not to do so.
The OIG also concluded that OSHA does not know the COVID-19 infection rates at worksites because it does not require employers to report all COVID-19 cases. Some states have had stricter infection reporting requirements. The OIG noted that employers in New Mexico must report all employee cases of COVID-19 to the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau within 4 hours of being notified, regardless of whether the infection was contracted at work. California employers must report all cases to the local public health agency in the jurisdiction of their worksite.
The OIG recommended that OSHA:
As part of its analysis, the OIG examined a sample of 66 out of 643 closed inspections conducted between February 1, 2020, and January 31, 2021. Twenty of them were based on complaints about mass COVID-19 positive cases, a lack of personal protective equipment, PPE training, respirator fit testing, routine cleaning, or failure to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and face coverings.