OSHA’s Guidance for COVID-19 and the Manufacturing Industry Workforce

If you’re a safety professional in the manufacturing industry, and you haven’t yet seen this, OSHA published a guidance for COVID-19 and the manufacturing industry workforce. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

In addition, you might also want to check out the following from OSHA on COVID-19:

In addition, you might want to read our short article on 4 OSHA Training Requirements for COVID-19 and/or our much longer article about OSHA Safety Training Compliance & COVID-19.

Please use the comments to share any experiences, insights, suggestions, or cautions you may have. And stay safe and healthy!

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4 OSHA Training Requirements for COVID-19

We’ll start this article with two quick reminders: (1) in the middle of the current COVID-19 pandemic, things are changing quickly and (2) we wrote this article on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. So be sure to check OSHA’s website dedicated to COVID-19 frequently for updates.

On April 13, 2020, OSHA released a guidance called Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We recommend you read the whole thing and make yourself familiar with the OSHA COVID-19 Safety and Health Topic page in general.

In this article, we’ll list out the four requirements for safety training related to COVID-19 mentioned in the guidance. As always, since this is a novel virus, we’re still learning about it, and things are changing quickly, keep checking in with OSHA and other credible, reliable sources to stay up-to-date on these issues.

In addition to this article, you might also want to check out our much longer, more comprehensive article looking at a range of issues related to OSHA compliance, safety training, and COVID-19 or the recent discussion on similar issues we had on the ASSP podcast channel.


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Preventive Maintenance to Improve Safety, Quality & Efficiency

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Maintenance programs in general, and preventive maintenance programs in particular, have obvious benefits in terms of keeping equipment running properly and preventing downtime. This brings an equally obvious benefit to operational efficiency and it decreases costs and waste as well.

But these aren’t the only benefits that come with a well-designed preventive maintenance program. If you’re practicing preventive maintenance at your facility instead of simply relying on reactive maintenance, you’ll see safety and quality improvements as well.

We’ll explain the benefits to efficiency, safety, and quality you’ll gain from practicing preventive maintenance further in this brief article.

Let us know if you need any help with the maintenance training at your facility as you try to improve your maintenance program and perhaps begin practice preventive maintenance yourself.


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Catch Us on ASSP Podcast Channel Talking Safety Training, OSHA Compliance & COVID-19

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Our friends at the ASSP and ASSP Podcast Channel asked us over to discuss some things related to safety training, OSHA compliance, and the current COVID-19 epidemic.

You can listen to the podcast episode here.

The discussion is based in part on our recent OSHA, Safety Training & COVID-19 article.

The very day of the discussion, OSHA released a new guidance that dealt with safety training and OSHA enforcement discretion. We didn’t know about the new OSHA guidance when we were recording the podcast episode, but we passed along relevant links to the ASSP afterwards and they’ve posted them at their site. Plus, we’ve included that new information in our article on OSHA & Safety Training linked above.

Let us know if you’ve got any questions, and be safe, friends!

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Free OSHA General Industry Compliance Guide Download

Download this free guide to assist with meeting your organization’s OSHA general industry compliance requirements.

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OSHA General Industry Compliance Guide Button

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OSHA, Safety Training, and COVID-19

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Two quick notes: Since we originally wrote this article, Vector Solutions (the parent company of Convergence Training) created free online COVID-19 training courses for people to watch. You can view them here.  Also, since we published this article, OSHA has released an update on Safety Training Requirements for COVID-19…please check that link you just passed for our explanation on OSHA’s requirements. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many changes in society and at work. For those companies that are still operating, and for those employees who are still working, safety training and in particular mandatory, compliance-based safety training, is a serious consideration.

What’s the best way to complete mandatory safety training, and stay in compliance with OSHA requirements, during this pandemic? In particular, how to do this and still maintain the social distancing requirements of six feet personal separation? And, given the novel status of the COVID-19 virus, the fact that we’re still learning about COVID-19 and transmission routes, and increasing concern and evidence that the virus may be aerosolized and people could possibly be infected by an infected (but asymptomatic) person who is simply talking or breathing, is six feet of separation enough? Is face-to-face safety training a good idea or is it, perhaps, in some way counter to the goal of safety and health during a pandemic?

Can online safety training be used to avoid face-to-face compliance-based safety training or minimize it during the pandemic?

We’ll try to cover these issues in this article, explain what we know about OSHA’s current safety training requirements, and give you some tips for integrating online safety training into your safety training program while still staying in compliance with OSHA regulations in this article.

We wish you all good health and safety during a difficult time. Please feel free to use the comments section to share any tips or information you may have on these topics.

We encourage you to read teh article below, but you might want to know that our own Jeffrey Dalto, a member of the ASSP Z490 committee and a contributor to the ANSI/ASSP Z49.2 national standard for online EHS training, recently talked about OSHA Safety Training Compliance and COVID-19 for the ASSP podcast channel.


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OSHA Releases New COVID-19 Guidance: Discretion in Enforcement when Considering an Employer’s Good Faith Efforts During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic

On April 16, 2020, OSHA released yet another new guidance related to COVID-19. This one is titled Discretion in Enforcement when Considering an Employer’s Good Faith Efforts During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.

We’re going to encourage you to read the entire guidance, but the excerpt below shows OSHA is giving their field officers discretion on enforcement of violations during an inspection if the employer shows evidence of “good faith efforts to comply.”

During the course of an inspection, OSHA Area Offices will assess an employer’s efforts to comply with standards that require annual or recurring audits, reviews, training, or assessments (see Annex below for some examples).  Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) should evaluate whether the employer made good faith efforts to comply with applicable OSHA standards and, in situations where compliance was not possible, to ensure that employees were not exposed to hazards from tasks, processes, or equipment for which they were not prepared or trained.  As part of assessing whether an employer engaged in good faith compliance efforts,  CSHOs should evaluate whether the employer thoroughly explored all options to comply with the applicable standard(s) (e.g., the use of virtual training or remote communication strategies).  CSHOs should also consider any interim alternative protections implemented or provided to protect employees, such as engineering or administrative controls, and whether the employer took steps to reschedule the required annual activity as soon as possible.

The OSHA Safety and Health Topic Page for COVID-19 has become a daily must-read to keep on top of all the new stuff from OSHA re: COVID-19. You might want to bookmark it. Stay safe and healthy, friends!

OSHA General Industry Compliance Guide Button

Free OSHA General Industry Compliance Guide Download

Download this free guide to assist with meeting your organization’s OSHA general industry compliance requirements.

Download Guide

OSHA General Industry Compliance Guide Button

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OSHA Releases Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, things seem to be changing super-quickly. That’s true in all walks of life, and it’s true if you’re trying to keep up with OSHA’s responses as well.

We’re actually a few days behind in noticing that OSHA released a new guidance related to COVID-19 on Wednesday, April 13, 2020 titled Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

It’s a longish one, so we’re going to leave you to read it instead of trying to summarize it, although we did touch on some part of it in our newly updated article OSHA, Safety Training & COVID-19.

Stay safe and healthy, friends!


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Developing a Risk-Competent Work Force

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In this discussion with Human Performance Improvement Specialist Joe Estey, we talk about risk at work and risk management in general, about the difference between being a risk-adverse organization and a risk-competent organization in particular, and Joe shares some tips for helping workers to become risk-competent.

Additionally, Joe offers some great resources to learn more, and we’ll provide links to those resources below.

Enjoy the interview in recorded discussion format below and good luck with your own efforts to create a risk-competent workforce that will assist your organizational continuous improvement efforts.

In addition to the discussion about risk-competency below, you might enjoy these earlier discussions we’ve had with Joe as well:

Enjoy the video immediately below. In a little while, we’ll offer a transcript of this discussion as well.


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OSHA Releases Expanded Temporary Enforcement Guidance on Respiratory Protection Fit-Testing for N95 Filtering Facepieces

On April 8, 2020, OSHA released an expanded temporary enforcement guidance on respiratory protection fit testing for N95 filtering facepieces that applies to all industries during the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

This new guidance expands an earlier guidance, published in mid-May, that applied only to the healthcare industry.

Please read the new, expanded guidance to learn more.

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Online Respirator Training: Online Courses, Free Online Word Game, FAQs, and More

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OSHA puts out a list of the ten most commonly cited standard violations every year. Here’s a list of OSHA’s Top Ten, 2016. Respiratory Protection is on that list this year, and so we’ve got some online respirator training resources for you in this article–plus more.

Many of the same standards appear on the list again and again (that’s true of respiratory protection, by the way). And as a result, we’ve pulled together a series of blogs to help you train your workers about each of the ten most cited standards. Below, we’ve got a bunch of materials to help with respirator training.

Let us know if you’ve got some other resources you’d suggest. The comments field awaits.

Before you dig into the information about respirator training below, feel free to check out our short sample video that demonstrates a few highlights of our safety and health courses.


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CDC Recommendations on Making & Wearing Cloth Face Covers for COVID-19

If you’re keeping track of everything in a fast-changing situation, you know the US CDC is now recommending that people wear cloth face masks (not N95 respirators) while in public to help prevent transmission of the novel COVID-19 virus.

The CDC says this is largely because they believe the face masks will help prevent people who are infected from spreading that infection to others by catching respiratory droplets and not letting them spread.

Keep in mind if you’re wearing a face mask, you still need to practice other safety and health measures related to COVID-19, including stay home when you can and maintaining your social distancing of six feet or more (see this article for more on the six-foot rule).

You’ll also have to keep in mind some new rules related to wearing the face mask, including washing your hands carefully before you put it on; not touching the face mask once you’ve got it on; wearing it correctly; removing it properly without touching your face; and washing it after each use.

To learn more about creating your own face mask, wearing one, and otherwise using it in a safe and healthy manner, see this special webpage from the CDC.

Stay safe, friends!

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