Leading the fight for safe and healthy workplaces

You are here

When should workers contact OSHA related to the lack of protections from COVID exposures?

This question is from a series of questions and answers on Worker Rights and Strategies for Staying Safe During COVID-19 created by National COSH to support workers during the pandemic.

WHEN SHOULD WORKERS CONTACT OSHA RELATED TO THE LACK OF PROTECTIONS FROM COVID EXPOSURES? 

  • OSHA has instituted a non-enforcement policy during the COVID pandemic. This means they are not investigating worker complaints other than sending a letter or calling the employer responsible for the complaint. There are some exceptions to this policy but very few. OSHA does not have any specific standards related to infectious disease protections nor are they trying to institute any new standards.
  • Relying on OSHA to make the workplace safe is always a gamble. Often, an effective strategy is to negotiate with the employer while having the threat of calling in OSHA. OSHA should but does not have the resources to inspect and assure safety for the millions of workplaces it covers. The safety standards it enforces are minimum protection levels. When violations cannot get fixed by applying internal pressure, it’s critical to document hazards and demand that OSHA respond to any complaints.
Share/Save