This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.
OSHA Focused COVID Inspections to Run Through June 9th
March 18th, 2022
By Gary Evans, Medical Writer
OSHA has announced a temporary increase in “focused” inspections of hospitals and skilled nursing facilities that treat or handle COVID-19 patients.
The increased focus — designed to get the attention of these facilities to ensure they are protecting employees — began March 9, 2022, and will end on June 9, 2022.
Facilities may be selected for inspections if they meet any of the following criteria:
- Follow-up inspection of any prior inspection where a COVID-19-related citation or hazard alert letter (HAL) was issued;
- Follow-up or monitoring inspections for randomly selected closed COVID-19 unprogrammed activity (UPA), to include COVID-19 complaints and Rapid Response Investigations (RRIs);
- Monitoring inspections for randomly selected, remote-only COVID-19 inspections where COVID-19-related citations were previously issued.
OSHA inspection procedures include the following instructions to its compliance safety and health officers:
- Determine whether previously cited COVID-19-related violations have been corrected or are still in the process of being corrected.
- Determine whether the employer has 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. Verification of vaccination protocols may be an indicator of a facility’s overall COVID-19 mitigation strategies. OSHA will refer any vaccination-related deficiencies to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
- 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.
- Review the facility’s procedures for conducting hazard assessments and protocols for personal protective equipment (PPE) use.
- Conduct a limited records review of the employer’s respiratory protection program. The records reviewed may be limited to the written respiratory protection program and fit tests, medical evaluations, and training records for the interviewed employees. 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.
For more on this story, see the next issue of Hospital Employee Health.
Gary Evans, BA, MA, has written numerous articles on infectious disease threats to both patients and healthcare workers. These include stories on HIV, SARS, SARS-CoV-2, pandemic influenza, MERS, and Ebola. He has been honored for excellence in analytical reporting five times by the National Press Club in Washington, DC.