It could mitigate your risk under new COVID-19 worker safety guidance
Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), released new guidance aimed at protecting workers from exposure to COVID-19. The guidance in its entirety can be found here.
OSHA’s guidance aims to help employers implement a coronavirus prevention program that includes the following elements:
- Assignment of a workplace coordinator to deal with COVID-19 issues.
- Conduct a COVID-19 exposure hazard assessment.
- Identify measures that will limit the spread in the workplace.
- Protecting high-risk workers or those with a severe illness by offering supportive policies, practices, and reasonable modifications to the work environment.
- Create an effective communication system for relaying COVID-19 information.
- Educate and train workers on COVID-19 policies and procedures.
- Tell workers who are infected or potentially infected to stay home and quarantine.
- Promote practices such as teleworking and paid sick leave that minimize the negative impact of quarantining.
- Isolate workers showing symptoms at work.
- Enhanced cleaning/disinfection after a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in the workplace.
- Provide guidance on screening on testing.
- Record and report COVID-19 infections and deaths.
- Implement procedures and protections so workers do not fear retaliation from expressing COVID-19 concerns.
- Provide information on the benefits and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Ensure the workplace does not distinguish between vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees.
- Follow other applicable OSHA standards.
The guidance also encourages other measures for limiting the spread of COVID-19 like implementing physical distancing protocols, use of face coverings and personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, practicing good hygiene, and routine cleaning. While the guidance creates no new legal obligations, it does contain best practices for keeping the workplace safe and some already-existing mandatory standards.
Complying with OSHA’s guidance can be a challenge for small-business owners. For this reason, businesses might consider investing in individualized compliance resources and training designed for their particular industry and business.
For instance, EdgUSource, a business based in Montana, offers compliance and training strategies that can be tailored to your business, your employees, and your customers. You can find more information on these services at http://edgusourceinc.com/, by calling (833) 204-3348, or by emailing [email protected].