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June 1, 2020

OSHA, CDC Release New COVID-19 Guidance

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an alert last week that lists steps employers can take to implement social distancing in the workplace and to help protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus. Safety measures employers can implement include:

  • Isolating any worker who begins to exhibit symptoms until they can either go home or leave to seek medical care;
  • Establishing flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), if feasible;
  • Staggering breaks and re-arranging seating in common break areas to maintain physical distance between workers;
  • In workplaces where customers are present, marking six-foot distances with floor tape in areas where lines form, use drive-through windows or curbside pickup, and limit the number of customers allowed at one time;
  • Moving workstations to create more distance, and install plexiglass partitions; and
  • Encouraging workers to bring any safety and health concerns to the employer’s attention.

OSHA has also published Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, which aims to help workers and employers protect themselves and their workplaces during the ongoing pandemic.

As Connecting the Dotsnoted last week, OSHA will now require employers to report employee COVID-19 cases. This mandate reverses OSHA’s previous policy. More information is here. OSHA also announced that it will increase inspections.

Last week, the Metals Service Center Institute held a webinar for members that discussed OSHA regulations and guidance. Click here and scroll down to find a replay.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently released a new resource that includes tools and strategies to deploy ahead of office re-openings. That guidance is intended to supplement the regularly updated CDC guidance for businesses and employers, which is available here. Jointly, the CDC and OSHA have issued interim guidance for manufacturing employers and information for cleaning and disinfecting workplaces, which is available here.

Companies also should refer to the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s “New Operational Practices to Consider in the Time of COVID-19 for ways manufacturers are meeting and exceeding CDC and OSHA guidelines.