OSHA Updates its Guidance in Response to Delta Variant of COVID 19
OSHA has recently released updated COVID-19 Guidance (Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace). This is new guidance for workplaces in response to both the Delta Variant of COVID-19 and the subsequent CDC Guidance regarding said variant. The important aspects of the updated guidance are explored below:
- Employers should use all means at their disposal to encourage employees to be vaccinated. This includes steps such as offering paid leave for the purposes of vaccination as well as time off to recover from the post-vaccination side effects. OSHA even recommends employers implement vaccine requirements in the workplace.
- Employers should adopt a policy of forbidding unvaccinated employees from returning to the workplace after contact with a COVID-19 positive individual without a negative test. OSHA recommends a 5-7 day delay between contact and testing (normal quarantine procedures would apply in the event of a positive test). Employers should also implement social distancing rules for unvaccinated individuals in the workplace.
- Employers should provide PPE to employees on demand and free of charge.
- Employers should encourage safe behavior from customers, such as indoor masking.
- Employers should provide basic training around COVID-19, including how the disease spreads and the most effective mitigation methods.
- Employer ventilation systems should be constantly checked and maintained, so that they are always functioning at peak capacity.
- Ensure proper reporting and logging of workplace COVID-19 infections/deaths.
The updated guidance continues to prioritize employee as well as customer safety in these rapidly-changing times. However, the guidance assures that many of its previous recommendations are still valid (such as its Respiratory Protection Standard). Employers should review the updated guidance and ensure that they continue to follow the guidance closely.
You can read the updated guidance HERE.