Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently updated its COVID-19 response plan. Last year, OSHA focused much of its COVID-19 related attention on healthcare, elderly care, and prisons. This new Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for COVID-19 and National Emphasis Program — Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) guidance shifts its focus to other industries where OSHA feels there could be spread of COVID-19. As part of the guidance, OSHA specifically targeted full-service and limited-service restaurants for inspections.
Restaurants should be prepared for on-site or virtual OSHA inspections. To prepare, restaurants should:
- Ensure all OSHA recordkeeping (OSHA 300, 300A, and 301s) is in order and up to date.
- Ensure any contact tracing for COVID-19 illness is properly documented.
- Ensure a COVID-19 response plan is documented and in place-include relevant Federal, state and local guidance.
- Ensure compliance with OSHA standards, specifically Personal Protective Equipment and Blood Borne Pathogens.
- Ensure employees are trained on COVID-19 related hazards, reporting of COVID-19 symptoms, prevention of COVID-19, and document this training.
- Ensure employees are trained that they will not be retaliated against for raising concerns regarding safety, specifically COVID-19 related safety.
Note that we are still waiting for OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard to be issued. OSHA has provided its proposed standard to the White House where it is currently being reviewed. Once that is issued, there will likely be more requirements for all industries with respect to COVID-19 related employee safety and health.