On May 19, OSHA released updated enforcement guidance for inspections related to COVID-19 complaints, referrals and severe illness reports.
In response to the reopening of many parts of the country, OSHA plans to operate within the following framework:
- In areas where community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased, OSHA will return to its regular inspection policy except that it will:
- Continue to prioritize COVID-19 cases; and
- Use phone investigations or Rapid Response Investigations (RRIs) where OSHA may have previously performed onsite investigations.
- In areas where community spread is elevated or there is a resurgence, OSHA will:
- Continue to prioritize COVID-19 fatalities and imminent danger exposures for inspection. On-site inspections will be focused on hospitals and other health care providers and workplaces with high numbers of complaints or known COVID-19 cases; and
- Use phone investigations instead of on-site inspections when they can adequately address the hazards.
OSHA also emphasizes that this guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current COVID-19 public health crisis and encourages employers to frequently check OSHA’s webpage for updates.