OSHA has issued new worker safety guidance for coronavirus protection programs at work. The new guidelines provide updated recommendations and outline existing safety and health standards.
- The focus of the updated guidance is to help employers and workers in non-healthcare workplace settings to identify risks of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19 at work and to help them determine appropriate control measures to implement.
- There are no legal obligations as part of the safety guidelines, but they are intended to assist employers in recognizing and limiting hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm as part of their obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace.
TOP 4 KEY POINTS
- WORKER INPUT: Successful COVID-19 protection programs involve both workers and company representatives at every step. Emphasis on worker input is new in OSHA’s guidance.
- PREVENTATIVE MEASURES: Enact preventative measures: employee hygiene, workplace cleaning, ventilation, physical distancing, personal protective equipment.
- FACE COVERINGS: Stronger focus on face coverings – another noticeable difference and emphasis from previous guidelines. Companies should require them and provide them at no cost.
- POLICIES AGAINST RETALIATION: Protect employees with policies that protect employees from retaliation over raising concerns about COVID workplace issues, and policies that don’t punish employees for illness absences.
OSHA will continue to update this guidance over time to reflect new developments in science, best practices and standards.
The full version of OSHA’s new guidance is available here:
Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace
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