Limited OSHA Virus Inspections Spur Push to 'Reestablish Trust'
OSHA, Workplace Safety and Whistleblower Claims Co-Chair Gina Fonte was cited in a Bloomberg Law article about a push to increase COVID-19-related inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Data from the agency shows that between March 2020 and February 2021, OSHA conducted 1,771 virus-related inspections, with about 40 percent resulting in a citation. Historically, the agency expects about 65 percent of inspections to lead to a citation, and worker advocates contend the numbers show a lack of response to the pandemic. Ms. Fonte commented that OSHA citations may have been less frequent earlier in the pandemic if the agency decided not to issue a citation after finding an employer demonstrated a "good faith" effort to comply with guidance. Since then, she added, the numbers have been comparatively lower because employers have maintained a high level of awareness of federal guidance regarding protective equipment, sanitation and other workplace safety issues.
"There's been a full-court press at the federal and state level on how to protect against this disease," she said.