OSHA Guidance on Preparing the Workplace for COVID-19 (2020)

2020 guidance on preparing the workplace for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Source: OSHA

This is a quick summary of the guidelines without analysis or commentary. For more information, go directly to the guidelines by clicking the link in the reference.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so.[1]

To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers, and the public, it is important for all employers to plan now for COVID-19.

Development of an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan

Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan that can help guide protective actions against COVID-19.

Stay abreast of guidance from federal, state, local, tribal, and/or territorial health agencies and consider how to incorporate those recommendations and resources into workplace-specific plans.

Plans should consider and address the level(s) of risk associated with various worksites and job tasks workers perform at those sites.

Such considerations may include the following:

  • Where, how, and to what sources of SARS-CoV-2 workers may be exposed
  • Nonoccupational risk factors at home and in community settings
  • Controls necessary to address those risks

Follow federal and state, local, tribal, and/or territorial (SLTT) recommendations regarding development of contingency plans for situations that may arise because of outbreaks.

Preparation to Implement Basic Infection Prevention Measures

For most employers, protecting workers depends on emphasizing basic infection prevention measures. As appropriate, all employers should implement good hygiene and infection control practices, including the following:

  • Promote frequent and thorough handwashing, including by providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand rubs that contain at least 60% alcohol.
  • Encourage sick workers to stay home.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes. Provide customers and the public with tissues and trash receptacles.
  • Employers should explore whether they can establish new policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (eg, telecommuting) and flexible work hours (eg, staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if local and state health authorities recommend the use of social-distancing strategies.
  • Discourage workers from sharing phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment.
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