This is a summary of OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. The full document can be found on the www.osha.gov website. Note that these are just guidelines and are not required by law.
Developing an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan
The best way to control a hazard is to systematically remove it from the workplace, rather than relying on workers to reduce their exposure.
■ Actively encourage sick employees or those caring for sick family members to stay home.
■ Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
■ Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work.
■ Be aware of workers’ concerns about pay, leave, safety, health, and other issues that may arise during infectious disease outbreaks. Come up with a plan.
■ Work with insurance companies (e.g., those providing employee health benefits) and state and local health agencies to provide information to workers and customers about medical care in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
■ Install high-efficiency air filters.
■ Increase ventilation rates in the work environment.
■ Replace face-to-face meetings with virtual communications and implement telework if feasible.
■ Develop emergency communications plans, including a forum for answering workers’ concerns and internet-based communications, if feasible.
■ Providing workers with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviors (e.g., cough etiquette and care of PPE).
Safe Work Practices
■ Provide a work environment that promotes personal hygiene by providing things such as tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfectants, and disposable towels for workers to clean their work surfaces.
■ Require regular hand washing or using of alcohol-based hand rubs. Workers should always wash hands when they are visibly soiled and after removing any PPE.
■ Post handwashing signs in restrooms.
■ Encourage employees to regularly clean and disinfect their work spaces, including vehicles. Pay special attention to cleaning items that are touched often, like door handles, keyboards, toilet seats and sinks, telephones, etc.