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Volume XI, Number 25


January 22, 2021

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OSHA Issues Revised Enforcement Guidance for Inspections Related to COVID-19

On May 19, OSHA released updated enforcement guidance for inspections related to COVID-19 complaints, referrals and severe illness reports.

In response to the reopening of many parts of the country, OSHA plans to operate within the following framework:

  • In areas where community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased, OSHA will return to its regular inspection policy except that it will:

    • Continue to prioritize COVID-19 cases; and

    • Use phone investigations or Rapid Response Investigations (RRIs) where OSHA may have previously performed onsite investigations.

  • In areas where community spread is elevated or there is a resurgence, OSHA will:

    • Continue to prioritize COVID-19 fatalities and imminent danger exposures for inspection. On-site inspections will be focused on hospitals and other health care providers and workplaces with high numbers of complaints or known COVID-19 cases; and

    • Use phone investigations instead of on-site inspections when they can adequately address the hazards.

OSHA also emphasizes that this guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current COVID-19 public health crisis and encourages employers to frequently check OSHA’s webpage for updates.

© 2020 Jones Walker LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 141



About this Author

Jane H. Heidingsfelder, Jones Walker, MSHA Employer Representation Lawyer, Injury Reporting Policy Attorney

Jane Heidingsfelder is a partner in the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group in the New Orleans office. She has extensive experience representing clients in a wide array of industries before the Occupational Safety & Health Administration ("OSHA") and Mine Safety & Health Administration ("MSHA"). In particular, she is frequently asked to assist companies during on-site safety and health investigations, as well as in subsequent litigation with the Department of Labor. 

Ms. Heidingsfelder has defended clients in state and federal...