On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued the updated guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
A key takeaway is that unless otherwise required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, most employers no longer need to take steps to protect their fully vaccinated workers who are not otherwise at-risk from COVID-19 exposure, with an exception for workplace settings covered by OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and mask requirements for public transportation.
The guidance focuses on protecting unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers from COVID- 19, and employers should take the following steps to shield those workers:
1. Grant paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.
2. Instruct any workers to stay home from work who are infected or who have had close contact with someone who tested positive or who have COVID-19 symptoms.
3. Implement physical distancing for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers in all communal work areas.
4. Provide unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers with face coverings or surgical masks, unless their work task requires a respirator or other PPE.
5. Educate and train workers on your COVID-19 policies and procedures using accessible formats and in a language they understand.
6. Suggest that unvaccinated customers, visitors, or guests wear face coverings.
7. Maintain ventilation systems.
8. Perform routine cleaning and disinfection.
9. Record and report COVID-19 infections and deaths.
10. Implement protections from retaliation and set up an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19-related hazards.
11. Follow other applicable mandatory OSHA standards.
In addition, employers of higher-risk workplaces should also:
1. Stagger arrival/departure times, as well as break times, to avoid congregations of unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers.
2. Provide visual cues as a reminder to maintain physical distancing such signs, floor markings, etc.
3. Protect workers by implementing strategies to improve ventilation, as previously issued by the CDC and OSHA.
To read OSHA’s Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace in its entirety, link here.
*The information provided in this communication is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal, tax, or accounting advice.