OSHA Issues New Enforcement Plan for COVID-19

May 22, 2020

On May 19, 2020, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for COVID-19 ("Updated Plan"). On May 26, 2020, OSHA will rescind its April 13, 2020 Interim Enforcement Response Plan and the new Updated Plan will go into effect, which is time-limited to the current COVID-19 health crisis. As non-essential businesses re-open, OSHA is returning to its inspection planning policy prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in areas where community spread is decreasing, but will continue to prioritize COVID-19 cases. Also, facilities having high and very high-exposure risk jobs, such as hospitals, emergency medical centers and emergency response facilities, will frequently be the focus of inspection activities in response to COVID-19-related complaints and employer-reported illnesses. The Updated Plan additionally highlights that OSHA will rely on the Occupational Health and Safety Act’s general duty clause to enforce violations if employers do not comply with COVID-19 mitigation measures.