“Good Faith” Compliance Efforts Considered in Pandemic

April 17, 2020

4 Min Read
“Good Faith” Compliance Efforts Considered in Pandemic
OSHA will consider "good faith" efforts to comply with standards when assessing potential violations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Image courtesy of Pixabay

Safety and health officers with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) received interim guidance this week instructing them to assess employers’ “good faith efforts” in health and safety standard compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Current infection control practices may limit the availability of employees, consultants, or contractors who normally provide training, auditing, equipment inspections, and other essential safety and industrial hygiene services,” the agency wrote in a release Thursday. “Business closures and other restrictions may also preclude employee participation in training if trainers are unavailable and access to medical testing facilities may be limited or suspended.”

Under the new guidance, inspectors will work to determine if employers attempted to comply with standards that involve annual or recurring audits, reviews, training, or assessments. Officers will examine whether companies looked at all options to comply with standards, including the use of virtual training or remote communication; whether or not the company put interim alternative protections, like engineering controls, in place; and if the company has rescheduled yearly compliance responsibilities. 

“OSHA will take employers’ attempts to comply in good faith in strong consideration when determining whether it cites a violation,” the OSHA release said. “The agency may issue a citation if it finds an employer cannot demonstrate any efforts to comply. To ensure corrective actions employers have taken once normal activities resume, OSHA will develop a program to conduct monitoring inspections from a randomized sampling of cases where the agency noted, but did not cite violations.”

The “good faith” guidance goes into effect immediately. OSHA said the measures will remain in place during the novel coronavirus crisis. 

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