Is your company keeping up with OSHA’s updated guidance on how to keep your workplace safe from COVID-19? The Secretary of Labor has issued new guidance for employers related to COVID-19 workplace safety. In addition to these new recommendations, OSHA has streamlined its process for issuing citations, so employers should review OSHA’s guidance known as “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” to ensure compliance and avoid citations.
Among the commonly well-known and used strategies for protecting employees such as wearing masks and social distancing, OSHA’s guidance has included various other strategies with which employers may be less familiar. One such strategy is for employers to conduct “hazard assessments” of where and how employees might be exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.
OSHA also advises that employers should consider extending or implementing supportive reasonable accommodations for employees in various risk categories such as older adults or those with underlying medical conditions. “Where feasible, employers should consider reasonable modifications for workers identified as high-risk who can do some or all of their work at home (part or full-time), or in less densely-occupied, better-ventilated alternate facilities or offices.”
The guidance also recommends communicating effectively with employees in a language they understand. If workers are to openly share symptoms, exposures or workplace hazards they may have seen or experienced, they will need to do so without any fear of retaliation, which means employees must feel comfortable sharing such information. OSHA wants to ensure that workers completely understand workplace policies and procedures for reporting symptoms, exposures or other workplace hazards as well as knowing that they have a right to a safe and healthful workplace. In the same vein, OSHA recommends setting up an anonymous complaint process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19 related hazards.
OSHA’s new guidance also recommends making the COVID-19 vaccine available at no cost to all eligible employees and requires workers who are vaccinated to continue to follow protective measures.
Stay ahead of the curve by reviewing OSHA’s guidance to ensure you avoid facing citations.
Questions? Please feel free to contact Monty & Ramirez LLP