OSHA Issues New Prevention Guidance on COVID-19 in the Workplace
Posted March 25, 2021
On Jan. 29, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The guidance is intended to inform employers and workers in settings outside of health care of the risks of being exposed to or contracting COVID-19 at work. This guidance is meant to help employers and workers determine appropriate COVID-19 control measures for the workplace.
OSHA released this guidance to help employers plan their COVID-19 prevention and mitigation procedures. With this guidance, OSHA is suggesting that employers should implement COVID-19 prevention programs. According to OSHA, the most effective programs engage workers and their union or representatives in the program’s development. The guidance covers the following:
- Hazard assessments;
- Measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 (roles of employers and workers and training on COVID-19);
- Isolation or separation measures of infected workers from the workplace (physical distancing, installing barriers or staying home);
- Use of personal protective equipment; and
- Improvements in ventilation, hygiene and sanitation measures.
OSHA will continue to update the guidance over time as new developments arise. OSHA intends to include additional situation- and industry-specific guidance in the future.
Employers should review this new guidance carefully and implement any new recommendations as applicable. In addition, employers should continue to monitor the OSHA website for any changes in COVID-19 best practices and standards.
- The guidance contains recommendations, but also includes the mandatory safety and health standards that have already been established.
- The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthy workplace.
According to OSHA, the most effective programs engage workers and their union or representatives in the program’s development.