For workplace safety, 2020 was an unprecedented year. When the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States, several workplaces shut down to limit the virus’ spread. Other businesses had to implement safety plans to keep their workplaces safe for employees. Unfortunately, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration failed to ensure workplace safety amid the 2020 pandemic.
Workplace safety standards slide
OSHA records and state data show that OSHA didn’t fully investigate unsafe practices at workplaces amid COVID-19. Plus, the federal agency only took limited steps when virus outbreaks did occur. In one instance, workers said OSHA wasn’t enforcing social distancing rules at their Illinois packaging plant, even after an employee complaint and as the number of workers contracting coronavirus increased.
The Wall Street Journal report also noted that OSHA had implemented workplace safety rules for coronavirus early on in 2020. However, guidance shifted over whether employees had to wear masks and other PPE.
Federal OSHA officials noted another challenge they faced in investigating workplace safety because of COVID-19. Their staff numbers had dwindled in recent years, so they had to rely on written communication more. Plus, some states had their own safety standards for limiting virus spread.
When workplace safety becomes a problem
In the coming months, many Ohio workers will return to office workplaces and other COVID-19 workplace safety rules may change. If you feel your workplace safety measures aren’t adequate, you first should speak with a human resources representative. You also can report problems to OSHA and consult an attorney if you feel your company isn’t addressing your workplace safety concerns properly.
Workers shouldn’t have to face the threat of contracting a potentially deadly virus at work. Following workplace safety rules is more important now than ever.