Eliminating hazards from COVID-19 remains a top priority for OSHA. As workplaces reopen, OSHA will continue to ensure safe and healthy conditions for America’s working men and women and has released the following: https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-05-19/updatedinterim-enforcement-response-plan-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.
In geographic areas where community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased, OSHA will return to the inspection planning policy that OSHA relied on prior to the start of the COVID-19 health crises, except that:
- OSHA will continue to prioritize COVID-19 cases;
- OSHA will utilize non-formal phone/fax investigations or rapid response investigations in circumstances where OSHA has historically performed such inspections when necessary to assure effective and efficient use of resources to address COVID-19-related events; and
- In all instances, the Area Director (AD) will ensure that CSHOs utilize the appropriate precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE) when performing inspections related to COVID-19.
In geographic areas experiencing either sustained elevated community transmission or a resurgence in community transmission of COVID-19, ADs will exercise their discretion, including consideration of available resources, to:
- Continue prioritizing COVID-19 fatalities and imminent danger exposures for inspection. Particular attention for on-site inspections will be given to high-risk workplaces as well as workplaces with high numbers of complaints or known COVID-19 cases.
- Where resources are insufficient to allow for on-site inspections, the inspections for these types of reported events will be initiated remotely.
- Where limitations on resources are such that neither an on-site nor remote inspection is possible, OSHA will investigate these types of reported events using a rapid response investigation (RRI) to identify any hazards, provide abatement assistance, and confirm abatement.
- OSHA will develop a program to conduct monitoring inspections from a randomized sampling of fatality or imminent danger cases where inspections were not conducted due to resource limitations.
- Utilize non-formal phone/fax investigation instead of an on-site inspection in industries where doing so can address the relevant hazard(s); and
- Ensure that CSHOs utilize the appropriate precautions and PPE to protect against potential exposures to COVID-19.
Knowing that COVID-19 has greatly impacted how dental labs are currently operating on a daily basis, especially in regards to employee safety, the Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology (FDLT) recently responded by launching the Workplace Safety Grant. As part of this grant, dental labs can call OSHA for a voluntary on-site safety consultation, and up to $500 per dental lab will be provided to assist with implementing corrective action as indicated by OSHA’s voluntary on-site safety consultation.
Unlike an actual OSHA safety inspection, the free safety consultation cannot result in fines or citations, and the consultant cannot report possible violations to OSHA. The only obligation is to correct serious job safety and health hazards. Find out more at http://dentallabfoundation.org/ scholarshipsgrants/workplace-safety-grant/.
From the October 2020 Issue of The Journal of Dental Technology