OSHA Issues Guidance on Protecting Workers From COVID-19

On January 29, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued guidance entitled “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” (“Guidance”).

The Guidance does not create any new obligations for employers. Rather, it provides recommendations, advice and information for employers, who have a general duty to provide their workers with a safe and healthful workplace.

OSHA recommends that employers take the following steps:

  • Implement a workplace COVID-19 prevention program;
  • Follow Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (“CDC”) guidelines on isolating workers who have or likely have COVID-19 and requiring workers to quarantine if they have been exposed to COVID-19;
  • Implement physical distancing (at least 6 feet) in communal work areas;
  • Install barriers where workers are not able to remain at least 6 feet away from other people;
  • Provide face coverings to all workers at no cost and discuss reasonable accommodations with workers who cannot wear some or all types of face coverings due to a disability;
  • Follow CDC guidelines on improving ventilation in the workplace;
  • Provide personal protective equipment when necessary;
  • Provide supplies for good hygiene practices such as cleaning hands frequently and covering coughs and sneezes; and
  • Perform routine cleaning and disinfection, including by following the CDC guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting.

The Guidance provides additional details on each of these steps and links to the relevant CDC guidelines.
Employers should review and implement the steps in the Guidance and relevant CDC guidelines in order to best protect their workers and protect themselves from potential liability.

If you have additional questions on OSHA and COVID-19, please contact Chaim Book cbook@mb-llp.com or Sheryl Galler at sgaller@mb-llp.com.


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