On January 29th, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) posted guidance intending to help employers and workers not covered by OSHA's COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to identify COVID-19 exposure risks to workers who are unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk, and to help them take appropriate steps to prevent exposure and infection. This guidance was updated on June 10th, 2021 to include focusing protections on unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers, encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations, and adding links to guidance with the most up-to-date content. Below are several of OSHA’s multi-layered interventions to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19:
- 1. Grant paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.
- 2. Instruct any workers who are infected, unvaccinated workers who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and all workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work.
- 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 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.
Read more about who at-risk workers are, what workers need to know about COVID-19 protections in the workplace, and the roles of employers and workers in responding to COVID-19 by reading OSHA’s COVID-19 guidance here. Additionally, learn more about the updates to this guidance by reading this article here.
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