Coronavirus Crisis: OSHA Establishes Interim Inspection Priorities

On April 13, 2020, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”) published an Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Plan identifies “[h]igh and very high exposure risk jobs” which will receive priority by the agency in its enforcement activities during the crisis.

The Plan states:

“High and very high exposure risk jobs are those with high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of SARS-CoV-2 that occurs during specific medical, postmortem, or laboratory procedures. Workplaces considered to have job duties with high risk of exposures to COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, hospitals treating suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 patients, nursing homes, emergency medical centers, emergency response facilities, settings where home care or hospice care are provided, settings that handle human remains, biomedical laboratories, including clinical laboratories, and medical transport. The aerosol-generating procedures, in particular, present a very high risk of exposure to workers. The aerosol-generating procedures for which engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE) are necessary include, but are not limited to, bronchoscopy, sputum induction, nebulizer therapy, endotracheal intubation and extubation, open suctioning of airways, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and autopsies.”

Several OSHA standards may apply to workplace hazards created by COVID 19:

  • Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness (29 CFR 1904)

  • General Requirements – Personal Protective Equipment (29 CFR 1910.132)

  • Eye and Face Protection (29 CFR 1910.133)

  • Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)

  • Sanitation (29 CFR 1910.141)

  • Specification for Accident Prevention Signs and Tags (29 CFR 145)

  • Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records (29 CFR 1910.145)

  • General Duty Clause


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