LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Federal workplace safety regulators said on Friday they will revisit several COVID-19 related safety investigations performed during the Trump administration as part of a wider effort to better protect workers from the pandemic.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also announced a new enforcement program targeting companies that put the most workers at serious risk of virus exposure, or that retaliate against workers who report unsafe conditions.
The announcements follow a Reuters special report earlier this year that found OSHA has so far largely failed to hold employers accountable for unsafe conditions during the pandemic. The story identified dozens of workplaces where employees complained of slipshod pandemic safety around the time of outbreaks – and regulators never inspected the facilities or, in some cases, took months to do so.
In one example, workers at a United Parcel Service Inc facility complained twice last spring to Arizona’s OSHA agency about unsafe conditions and workers contracting COVID-19. Arizona OSHA officials never inspected the facility, despite a well-publicized outbreak among dozens of workers, including a manager who died from COVID-19.