The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus protection program and better identify risks that could lead to exposure and contraction.
The “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:
- Conduct a hazard assessment;
- Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus;
- Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home;
- Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers; and
- Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.
The guidance also details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols, and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene, and routine cleaning.
According to OSHA, it expects to update this guidance over time to reflect developments in science, best practices, and standards.