OSHA is Targeting Healthcare: How to Prepare for an Inspection


About Course

On March 12, 2021, OSHA launched a new national emphasis program that heavily targets healthcare and requires OSHA area offices to create targeted inspections lists, meaning that there should be even more COVID-19 enforcement throughout 2021 (as the program is set to run for a year).

As OSHA inspections are unannounced, this program will discuss the practical steps that an employer can take now to minimize the impact of an inspection.  Additionally, we will discuss the OSHA inspection policy to put in place now so that facility leadership has a game plan to follow when OSHA arrives.  Attendees will learn what can be done to manage the inspection process favorably and also what tools are available to minimize the effect of any OSHA citations that could be issued as a result of the inspection.  OSHA anticipates that the majority of the inspections will continue to occur in general industries, particularly in healthcare, based on current OSHA enforcement data showing higher COVID-19-related complaints, referrals and severe incident reports at healthcare worksites.

When OSHA visits, it will be conducting a workplace inspection.  OSHA’s representative is called a Compliance Safety and Health Officer, “CSHO,” or “Compliance Officer.”  During any inspection, the Compliance Officer will request employee interviews (both management and non-management employees) in order to gather facts as to possible violations of agency regulations.

A typical OSHA inspection goes as follows:

  • The Compliance Officer arrives. By OSHA procedures, inspections are to made during regular working hours of the establishment.
  • The Compliance Officer will meet with an owner representative of the employer and will present his/her credentials. This meeting called an Opening Conference, may also include key members of management, including safety management.
  • The Compliance Officer will do a walkaround. During this walkaround, the Compliance Officer will tour the facility, examine records (including Safety Data Sheets and injury and illness records), take photographs or videotapes, conduct private employee interviews, and/or take samples (potentially air samples and wipe samples).
  • The inspection is expected to last one day but the Compliance Officer is allowed to extend the inspection for as many days as he deems necessary and return on future days.
  • At the close of the inspection, a Closing Conference will be held with the owner representative and other members of management.

Thus, we will examine all the ins and outs of the process.  If citations are issued, we will then discuss the contest period and the OSHA informal conference settlement process, including strategies for effective settlement.   We will also discuss the OSHA defenses available to assess both during the inspection and during the settlement/contest period.  This will all be in the context of COVID-19 and the specific issues that employers can review and implement to minimize citations.

Areas Covered in the Session:

We will examine the new National Emphasis Program announced by OSHA on March 12, 2021. This new COVID-19 NEP will require OSHA Area Offices to conduct planned/programmed and follow-up inspections in workplaces where employees have a high frequency of close contact exposures as to be at greater risk to COVID-19.  We will discuss the inspection process and the rights of an employer to control the inspection process, including:

  1. The right to inform its employees of their rights during the inspection.
  2. Has the right to participate in non-private employee interviews (those attended by a third party, such as a union representative).
  3. The right to attend interviews of employer management representatives since they are agents of the employer.
  4. The right to end the inspection or the interviews if the interviews become disruptive, that is, unreasonably interfere with ongoing work, or become confrontational.

What Will You Learn?

  • Learn what happens during an OSHA inspection and what tools are available to minimize problematic impacts during the inspection process, including how to prepare for witness interviews.
  • Examine the parameters of the new National Emphasis Program to understand how a company could be subject to an increased risk of inspection.
  • Review the various defenses available to contest OSHA citations, such that an employer can help develop these defenses during the inspection, the informal settlement conference, and in contesting any citations.
  • Understand the OSHA enforcement scheme generally and how OSHA enforcement would look regarding COVID with these new requirements.
  • Understand how to respond to initial OSHA inquiries through its Rapid Response Investigation (RRI) process when OSHA conducts a “virtual” rather than on-site inspection.
  • Review the OSHA contest procedures and strategies for effectively settling citations during the initial contest period.
  • Assess portions of the national emphasis program and other OSHA guidance that instructs OSHA inspectors on what to focus on during COVID-19 inspections.

Course Content

You can access all the webinar materials after successful payment

  • Webinar Link + Transcript
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