OSHA Focused Surveys

Cathy Hamblen Announcements

If you were contacted by OSHA during the COVID-19 pandemic, be prepared for an onsite visit in the next 3 months.

Today the Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced an enforcement memorandum for a short-term increase in highly focused inspections directed at hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities that treat or handle COVID-19 patients.

Their goal is to expand its presence to ensure continued mitigation to control the spread of COVID-19 and future variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and protect the health and safety of healthcare workers at heightened risk for contracting the virus.

The agency will be initiating focused inspections to emphasize monitoring for current and future readiness to protect workers from COVID-19. Follow-up inspections will be conducted at sites that were previously issued citations, as well as where complaints were received but the agency did not conduct in-person inspections.

OSHA intends to expand its presence in targeted high-hazard healthcare facilities during a three-month period from March 9, 2022 to June 9, 2022.

Through this focused enforcement initiative, the agency will verify and assess hospital and skilled nursing care employers’ compliance actions taken, including their readiness to address any ongoing or future COVID-19 surges.

US Department of Labor announces enforcement, effort for focused inspections in hospitals, nursing care facilities treating COVID-19 patients; March 7, 2022

The criteria for conducting the healthcare inspections are for facilities that meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Follow-up inspection of any prior inspection where a COVID-19-related citation or hazard alert letter (HAL) was issued;
  2. Follow-up or monitoring inspections for randomly selected closed COVID-19 unprogrammed activity (UPA), to include COVID-19 complaints and Rapid Response Investigations (RRIs); or
  3. Monitoring inspections for randomly selected, remote-only COVID-19 inspections where COVID-19-related citations were previously issued.

Assessment will be limited to:

  • Were previously cited COVID-19-related violations corrected?
  • Has employer implemented a COVID-19 plan that includes preparedness, response, and control measures for the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
  • Verify the existence and effectiveness of all control measures, including procedures for determining vaccination status by reviewing relevant records. Any vaccination-related deficiencies will be referred to CMS.
  • Will request and evaluate the establishment’s COVID-19 log and the Injury and Illness Logs (OSHA 300 Log, OSHA 300A Summary, and any applicable OSHA 301 Incident Reports) for calendar years 2020, 2021, and 2022, if available, to identify work-related cases of COVID-19.
  • Will review the facility’s procedures for conducting hazard assessments and protocols for personal protective equipment (PPE) use.
  • Will conduct a limited records review of the employer’s respiratory protection program; may be limited to a written respiratory protection program, fit testing, medical evaluations and training records for employees.
  • Will perform a limited, focused walkaround of areas designated for COVID-19 patient treatment or handling (common areas, walkways, and vacant treatment areas where patients have been or will be treated), including performing employee interviews to determine compliance.

COVID-19 Focused Inspection Initiative in Healthcare; March 2, 2022

 

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