OSHA May Provide Good Faith Training and Certification Exemptions to Employers Because of COVID-19 Constraints
On April 16, 2020, OSHA issued a Directive stating that Employers subject to OSHA inspections and/or ongoing training could be given temporary good faith exemptions based upon travel restrictions and/or business closings which may make it difficult for companies to currently comply in a timely manner with safety requirements and/or programs.
This temporary exemption applies to a wide range of OSHA training and compliance mandates, such as construction certifications, annual or periodic training, hearing conservation programs, and/or ambient airborne dust level testing. The exemption does not apply to everyday use of safety equipment, including PPE and/or fall protection apparati.
The Directive indicates that the OSHA Compliance Officer ultimately decides whether the Employer qualifies for the good faith exemption by evaluating whether the company has thoroughly explored alternate options to comply with training and/or certification requirements such as the use of virtual programs and/or teleconferencing.
As such, companies should document their legitimate inability to comply with OSHA safety training programs if they intend to assert the COVID-19 exemption. Finally, and as indicated, alternative compliance protocol (i.e., virtual/remote training, etc.) should likewise be investigated, documented, and utilized where appropriate.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Brian Brittain at 216-643-4507 or firstname.lastname@example.org