OSHA has been touting their COVID-19 fines it has placed on companies over the last few months. An overwhelming majority of the citations are in the health care industry and meat processing industry. While there is no specific OSHA standard regarding employee protection from a pandemic, the general duty clause, Section 5(a)(1), was the path towards enforcement.
Last week OSHA issued a guidance document “Common COVID-19 Citations: Helping Employers Better Protect Workers and Comply with OSHA Regulations” and can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/
You will notice that the citations are in the General Industry standard, however, the requirements are applicable to construction work unless the construction standard says otherwise. The Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1919.134) is an example. Additionally, the references to Personal Protective Equipment match the same requirements for the construction industry.
There has not been a lot of OSHA activity in the south Florida Area and in fact there is a about a 45% reduction in inspections over their last fiscal year. Our data indicates an increase in health care facilities with a few citations and none in construction. However, once the fiasco in Washington DC is settled and Joe Biden prevails, my guess is that OSHA will be prodded to increase inspections in all industries. I wouldn’t expect a new OSHA regulation regarding a pandemic, it would never get through the Senate, but there should be more activity.
Also, on that same above link, you will find another guidance document “COVID-19 Guidance on Ventilation in the Workplace” which may affect your job trailers and corporate office. Take a look at that as well.
It’s best to be prepared.