OSHA announced last week that it has issued 204 citations so far relating to COVID-19 with total penalties of $2,856,533. As these penalties continue to climb, OSHA also issued new guidance to help employers understand which standards it most often cites relating to the pandemic.

The six-page guidance document and accompanying one-pager underscore that common issues have involved employer failures to:

  • Provide a medical evaluation before a worker is fit-tested or uses a respirator.
  • Properly fit-test workers using tight-fitting respirators.
  • Assess the workplace to determine if COVID-19 hazards require using respirators or other personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Establish, implement, and update a written respiratory protection program with required worksite-specific procedures.
  • Provide appropriate (including correct type and size) respirator or PPE when necessary.
  • Train workers on safe respirator/PPE use and retrain as needed in case of workplace changes.
  • Store respirators and other PPE properly to prevent damage or contamination.
  • Record and/or report (as appropriate) work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses.