According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), US workers have filed about 5,000 coronavirus-related complaints of unsafe conditions and nearly 1,400 whistleblower complaints alleging they were fired or otherwise punished for raising coronavirus concerns.
In meat processing specifically, where large clusters of workers have been infected, OSHA has 58 complaints or enforcement activities as of May. OSHA worked with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop specific guidance for meatpacking facilities, which includes recommendations to keep workers six feet apart or provide partitions between them.
Now, in recognition of the unique challenges posed by COVID-19, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has increased its demands on employers for recording coronavirus-related illness.
As of an update effective May 26, all employers with more than 10 employees must record work-related employee COVID-19 illnesses.
The guidance sets forth a series of considerations for employers to reference in an investigation in order to make a reasonable assessment of whether the illness was contracted at work. OSHA will consider the reasonableness of the employer’s investigation in terms of the employer’s legal obligations.
- Ask the employee how they believe they contracted the COVID-19 virus
- While respecting employee privacy, discuss with the employee their work and out-of-work activities that may have led to contracting COVID-19
- Review the employee’s work environment for potential vectors for exposure to coronavirus
The COVID-19 reporting challenge
To help employers facilitate the quick and easy reporting of potential COVID-19 infections Vault Platform has added a specific reporting feature to its enterprise mobile app. This helps the teams managing the OSHA requirements stay on top of the numbers by enabling employees to report directly via the app when showing symptoms or testing for COVID-19.
Due to the delicate nature of the OSHA mandated investigation process, Vault Platform helps businesses establish a trusted line of communication with employees, allowing people to use the direct messaging feature to raise initial concerns anonymously and then reveal themselves as part of the process later.
Neta Meidav is co-founder and CEO of Vault Platform, the trusttech company disrupting workplace misconduct reporting and resolution. Neta worked as a senior adviser to the UK Government for over ten years and is a knowledgeable resource on solutions to the problem of harassment and bullying in the workplace.