A difficult year has only continued to get more challenging for many healthcare organizations. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to test so many facilities, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited 62 establishments for violations, resulting in proposed penalties of $913,133 since the onset of the pandemic.
Many of these fines are centered on respiratory protection programs. There are several questions to consider before OSHA comes knocking at your door:
- Do you have a written respiratory protection program?
- Are you completing a medical evaluation to determine your employees’ ability to use a respirator?
- Are you conducting fit tests for your employees?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you could be at risk of an OSHA fine.
Other areas of focus for OSHA have been centered on many organizations’ failure to report an injury, illness, hospitalization or fatality, and recording an injury or illness on the OSHA recordkeeping forms. Are you completing a medical evaluation to determine your employees’ ability to use a respirator? A recent blog from RCM&D covers the topic of OSHA recordkeeping and COVID-19.
OSHA recently issued temporary guidance for healthcare workers to help ensure the availability of respirators. The new enforcement permits the use of tight-fitting, powered, air-purifying respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) when initial and/or annual fit testing isn’t feasible due to respirator and fit-testing supply shortages. These apply to alternate respirators, such as N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99 and P100 respirators and NIOSH-approved, non-disposable, elastomeric respirators or powered air-purifying respirators, either loose-fitting or tight-fitting. You can read the full statement from OSHA here.
If you need assistance with implementing any of these programs at your organization, please reach out to your RCM&D Risk Consultant.
To learn more: