The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently released new guidelines to help employers mitigate and manage COVID-19 exposure. Unlike OSHA standards, which are mandatory, these voluntary guidelines provide recommendations to equip employers with the resources needed to promote a safe and healthy workforce.
As more workers begin to return to pre-pandemic workplace settings, employers are advised to create COVID-19 prevention programs that include the implementation of masks, social distancing, and cleaning routines, as well as training for workers on the safety protocols in place. In addition to implementing these precautions at the workplace, it is recommended that employees complete a screening for symptoms prior to arriving at work. This is one of the most important ways to stop the spread before it ever enters the workplace. If an employee develops symptoms during the workday, OSHA advises the employee be sent home immediately to limit potential exposure to other workers. Along with these preliminary guidelines, below are additional precautions OSHA has outlined to protect employees:
- Install barriers where physical distancing cannot be maintained
- Improve ventilation, such as opening doors and windows for air circulation
- Close areas that have been used by a potentially infected person
- Provide supplies for good hygiene practices such as no-touch trash cans, time to wash hands, and touchless hand sanitizer