Doug KalinowskiDirector, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, US OHSA
Doug Kalinowski is the Director of the Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs for the US Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In this role, he oversees OSHA’s efforts on compliance assistance, on-site consultation in all of the fifty US states and territories, alliances, partnerships, exemplary employer recognition, 28 independent state OSHA programs, and international affairs. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist with Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Michigan.
The United States’ Evolving Response to the Coronavirus in the Workplace
When the novel coronavirus hit the world in 2020, it was challenging for everyone in the world to determine the best way to address it. That was particularly true for exposures to workers. In the US, with 50 different states, and multiple independent territories, the challenges were even greater than a nation with a single approach. In the work environment, additional challenges to address the coronavirus arose. While there is one national Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are also 28 independent, OSHA approved State OSHA Plans that operate under their own legislation and rules. This discussion will address OSHA’s evolving response to the coronavirus in the workplace as well as the responses of the approved OSHA programs administered by the 28 states and territories.
The responses included a combination of enforcement actions, compliance assistance efforts, and collaboration with other government agencies, private associations and interested stakeholders. OSHA also operated in such a way to limit its own staff’s exposure to the coronavirus when conducting inspections of healthcare facilities or other sites where the workers themselves were the source of potential exposures. As everyone learned more about the virus, OSHA’s approach was modified with respect to enforcement and compliance assistance.