OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed the following guidance to assist employers and workers in safely returning to work and reopening businesses deemed by local authorities as “non-essential businesses” during the evolving Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Employers can use this guidance to develop policies and procedures to ensure the safety and health of their employees.

This guidance is intended to supplement the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ previously developed Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and the White House’s Guidelines for Opening up America Again. It focuses on the need for employers to develop and implement strategies for basic hygiene (e.g., hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection), social distancing, identification and isolation of sick employees, workplace controls and flexibilities, and employee training. This guidance is based on the application of traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices to a phased approach for reopening, as the White House guidelines describe.

Reopening should align with the lifting of stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders and other specific requirements of the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and/or territorial (SLTT) governments across the United States, as well as with public health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal requirements or guidelines. Employers should continually monitor federal, State, territorial, tribal, and local government guidelines for updated information about ongoing community transmission and mitigation measures, as well as for evolving guidance on disinfection and other best practices for worker protection. Where applicable, these guidelines may supplement state- or locality-specific information and re-opening requirements.

The CDC provides the latest information about the COVID-19 pandemic at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov. OSHA provides specific information for workers and employers about the COVID-19 pandemic at: www.osha.gov/coronavirus.

The National Governors Association provides a state-by- state summary of public health criteria in reopening plans at: www.nga.org/coronavirus-reopening-plans.

Download the full OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work.