OSHA’s Enforcement Role for COVID-19

Denise GillinNews, Risk Management

By Timothy W. Braun, Risk Control Specialist

OSHA’s role in protecting workers since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic has been multifaceted.  OSHA has and continues to issue helpful guidance documents about COVID-19: how to protect workers; ideas for many work situations; and memos discussing how OSHA will utilize their enforcement capabilities. The traditional OSHA enforcement role is and has been ongoing as well. As of December 4, 2020, OSHA has issued citations stemming from 255 inspections. The penalties for those inspections have amounted to over $3,000,000.  Many of these inspections and citations have been at long-term care facilities and various other healthcare establishments.

Among the more commonly cited situations related to OSHA regulations are:

  • Inadequacies, or lack of a company’s written respirator program
  • Failure to provide a medical evaluation for a respirator wearer
  • Failure to provide an adequate fit test for a respirator wearer
  • Lack of training for PPE used to protect against COVID-19
  • Failing to report a COVID-19 related fatality, injury, or illness where required
  • Failing to record a workplace COVID-19 injury or illness on the appropriate OSHA forms

Additionally, OSHA has cited many employers under the general clause of the OSHA Act (section 5(a)(1)) for a failure to provide a safe and healthful workplace to workers. This section is often cited in situations where there are no OSHA regulations but an employee is exposed to a recognized and serious hazard for which there is feasible abatement.

Needless to say, COVID-19 exposure is very serious. It is important that employers are aware of the hazards of COVID-19 and know and follow the OSHA regulations as well as CDC and Commonwealth of PA recommendations and rules for protecting workers.

A list of the OSHA inspections, locations, and COVID-19-related citations issued can be found at:


Periodic updates to OSHA enforcement data for COVID-19 can be found at:


Additional information on OSHA, COVID-19, and OSHA guidance / enforcement can be found at:


Download OSHA’s Lessons Learned: Frequently Cited Standards Related to COVID-19 Inspections PDF

For more information, contact Tim at 717.224.1835 or your Murray Risk Control Consultant at 717.397.9600.

Share this Post