OSHA issues Interim Guidance related to COVID-19
Kevin Corlew, Regional Representative for the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) took action last week to promote workplace safety compliance and to help American workers and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OSHA has published interim guidance to advise compliance safety and health officers (CSHO) on evaluating an employer’s good faith efforts to comply with safety and health standards during the coronavirus pandemic.
During an inspection, CSHOs should assess an employer’s efforts to comply with standards that require annual or recurring audits, reviews, training or assessments. Officers should evaluate if the employer:
Explored all options to comply with applicable standards (e.g., use of virtual training or remote communication strategies);
Implemented interim alternative protections, such as engineering or administrative controls; and
Rescheduled required annual activity as soon as possible.
The guidance takes effect immediately, and remains in effect until further notice.
In addition, OSHA issued an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect manufacturing workers from exposure to coronavirus.
Safety measures employers can implement to protect employees working in manufacturing include:
Practicing sensible social distancing and maintaining 6 feet between co-workers, where possible;
Establishing flexible work hours, (e.g., staggered shifts), if feasible;
Training workers on how to properly put on, use/wear, take-off and maintain protective clothing and equipment;
Allowing workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent spread of the virus;
Monitoring public health communications about coronavirus recommendations for the workplace and ensuring that workers have access to and understand that information;
Promoting personal hygiene. If workers do not have access to soap and water for handwashing, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Provide disinfectants and disposable towels workers can use to clean work surfaces; and
Encouraging workers to report any safety and health concerns.