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5 (a) 1 - OSHA's Catch-All for Coronavirus Enforcement


OSHA has flexed its enforcement muscle on an insurance agency for non-compliance with CDC guidelines pertaining to the Coronavirus protections for employees. The full story can be found here . In the article it does link to the actual violation notice that is send to the employer which cites the General Duty Clause of the OSHA act for employers to provide "a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm." This citation was for exposures in April 2021. OSHA does not necessarily have a complete "standard" specific for Coronavirus protection, but can references numerous sections of the Code of Federal Regulations as well as standards incorporated by reference or general knowledge.


The key here is that COVID-19 is considered to be one of the largest workplace fatality exposures even eclipsing over the road motor vehicle accidents (for which OSHA for the most part has no jurisdiction). The key to compliance and avoiding enforcement of the catch-all General Duty Clause is to prove that your business has followed OSHA's guidance documents. The current guidelines which OSHA will enforce through the General Duty Clause can be found in the following publication which is linked to this blog. Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)

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