OSHA Citation Imposes COVID-19 Training to Abate Workplace Hazards

On April 8, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a citation to a tax preparation service for failing to mitigate COVID-19-related workplace hazards. Among other things, OSHA cited employee training as a way to correct workplace hazards. 

More specifically, OSHA directed the employer to:

Provide training on the sources of exposure to COVID-19, the hazards associated with that exposure, and the workplace protocols in place to prevent or reduce the likelihood of exposure, and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause requires employers to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. 

The OSHA citation charged that the employer did not provide such a workplace to its employees by failing to require employees to wear face coverings (as mandated by state law) and socially distance from customers and other employees. OSHA also cited the employer’s failure to provide adequate means of ventilation, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, pre-shift screening of employees, implement physical barriers, or impose any other methods of reducing the potential for person-to-person transmission of the virus. 

OSHA imposed a proposed penalty of $136,532, and outlined acceptable methods to abate this workplace hazard, including COVID-19 employee training.

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