OSHA Issues New Stronger Workplace Guidance on COVID-19 – January 2021

On January 29, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released new guidance seeking to mitigate and prevent coronavirus spread in the workplace. This guidance, “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides stronger, updated guidance and recommendation. It also outlines existing safety and health standards.

According to OSHA, essential elements include:

  • Conducting a hazard assessment.
  • Identifying control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Adopting policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers. This can encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
  • Ensuring that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English- and non-English-speaking workers.

A recent article from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) says the guidance emphasizes employees’ role and rights. This includes involving them in development of their employer’s COVID-19 prevention program, and keeping them informed of the terms of the program and resources available to them, including an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19 related hazards.

One of the major differences between this guidance and prior guidance is that there’s a stronger emphasis on face coverages. Overall, OSHA uses the term “should” in their guidance, rather than mandating anything. However, the general-duty clause requires employers to protect their employees from recognized hazards, including COVID-19.

Back in December, we wrote about what a new presidential administration could mean for OSHA. This included a revamp and strengthening soon after President Biden takes office, including an emergency temporary standard for COVID-19.

If you have any questions about stronger workplace guidance on COVID-19 from OSHA, contact the Risk Management Team at Rose & Kiernan, Inc. here or by calling (800) 242-4433.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

What a New Presidential Administration Could Mean for OSHA

A new presidential administration could mean a revamp and strengthening of OSHA soon after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. As an employer, it’s a good idea to take action and be prepared both in the long and short-term.

Read More

temporary respiratory guidance
OSHA’s Temporary Respirator Compliance Guidance During COVID-19: What Employers Need to Know

OSHA recently issued temporary enforcement guidance for the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). This is based on N-95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) and fit testing supply shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More

rk blog - health emergency planning new york state
New York Public Employers Must Develop Plans to Protect Public Workers in Future Health Emergencies

We’d like to remind all public employers in New York state that emergency preparedness plans are to be submitted to unions and labor management committees by February 4, 2021, and all plans must be finalized by April 1, 2021.

Read More