National Construction Practice Safety Alert

Discretion in Enforcement When Considering an Employer’s Good Faith Efforts During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in widespread business closures, restrictions on travel, limitations on group size, facility visitor prohibitions, stay-at-home or shelter-in-place requirements.

These actions have severely limited the availability of employees, consultants or contractors who normally provide required training, auditing, equipment inspections, testing and other essential safety and industrial hygiene services such as:

  • Annual audiograms
  • Annual process safety management requirements (Process Hazard Review PHA) Revalidation, Review of Operating Procedures, Refresher Training)
  • Hazardous Waste Operator Training (HAZWOPER)
  • Respirator fit testing and training
  • Maritime crane testing and certification
  • Construction crane operator certification
  • Medical evaluation for respirator users

As a result of these limitations and the suspension of a number of routine medical tests, during the course of an inspection, OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOS) will evaluate whether an employer made a good faith effort to comply with applicable OSHA standards (for example, the use of virtual training or remote communication strategies).

Other acceptable strategies an employer can follow include developing interim alternative protections, such as engineering or administrative controls and taking steps to reschedule the required activity as soon as possible.

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EPIC National Construction Practice

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