Tracking COVID-19-Related Citations By OSHA

Many State OSHA agencies have been active this year in citing employers for safety violations related to COVID-19. Federal OSHA, however, has only recently begun to cite employers for such violations. The purpose of this post is to track these federal citations thereby underscoring for employers the new emphasis being placed by the agency on COVID-19.

So far, OSHA’s focus has been directed at meat packing plants and hospitals.

July 21, 2020 – OHNH EMP LLC

OSHA inspected three OHNH EMP facilities in Ohio: Pebble Creek Healthcare Center in Akron, and Salem West Healthcare Center and Salem North Healthcare Center in Salem. OSHA announced on July 21, 2020 it had cited each location for an alleged serious violation of two respiratory protection standards: allegedly failing to develop a comprehensive written respiratory protection program and allegedly failing to provide medical evaluations to determine employees’ ability to use a respirator in the workplace. OSHA proposed a penalty of $40,482.

Sept. 10, 2020 – Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp.

At least 1,294 workers employed at Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp., in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, contracted coronavirus, and four employees died from the virus in the spring of 2020.On Sept. 10, 2020 OSHA announced it had cited Smithfield for alleged violations of the general duty clause of the OSH Act. OSHA proposed a penalty of $13,494. Smithfield has announced its intention to contest the citation.

Sept. 10, 2020 – Christus Shreveport-Bossier Health System

Earlier this year, employees of the Christus Shreveport Health System complained to OSHA of exposures to COVID-19 due to improper protection protocols. On Sept. 10, 2020, OSHA announced it had cited Christus for alleged personal protective equipment violations. OSHA proposed a penalty of $13,494. Christus has announced its intention to contest the citation.

Sept. 11, 2020 – JBS Foods

Onn Sept. 11, 2010, OSHA demonstrated that meat packing companies are a national emphasis for inspections and citations. OSHA announced it had cited JB Foods for alleged violations of the general duty clause of the OSH Act. OSHA proposed a penalty of $15,615.

Sept. 11, 2020 – CarePlus Bergen Inc. d/b/a Bergen New Bridge Medical Center 

On Sept. 11, 2020, OSHA announced it had cited CarePlus Bergen, Inc. d/b/a Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in New Jersey for allegedly violating respiratory protection standards. The citation was prompted by a coronavirus-related inspection. OSHA proposed a penalty of $9,639.

Sept. 11, 2020 – Hackensack Meridian Health Residential Care Inc. 

Based on a coronavirus-related inspection, OSHA announced on Sept, 11, 2020 it had cited Hackensack Meridian Health Residential Care, Inc. for an alleged serious violation for failure to provide respirators to resident-care employees for a period of time in March 2020. Employees were caring for residents who were exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus. OSHA also cited the employer for the alleged failure to conduct respirator fit testing, effective training and compliant medical evaluations, during the period after the employer began providing respirators to the employees and requiring their use. OSHA cited one other-than-serious violation for the facility’s alleged failure to establish a fit-test record for qualitative fit tests. OSHA proposed a penalty of $28,070.

Sept. 11, 2020 – Roudebush VA Medical Center

OSHA cited Roudebush VA Medial Center in Indiana for failing to provide appropriate PPE and failing to protect employees from COVID-19, particularly non-medical staff.

Sept. 16, 2020 – Georgetown Dental LLC 

On Sept. 16, 2020, OSHA announced it had cited Georgetown Dental, PLLC for allegedly failing to provide medical evaluations and fit testing for employees required to wear N-95 respirators as protection against coronavirus; lack of written programs related to respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogen exposure control and chemical hazard communication; insufficient bloodborne pathogen training and controls; and inadequate eyewash stations. OSHA proposed penalties of $9,500. The company has paid the penalty in full and abated the citations.

Robert G. Chadwick, Jr. frequently speaks to non-profit organizations regarding occupational safety and health issues. To contact him for a speaking engagement, please e-mail him at rchadwick@realclearcounsel.com.