Following President Biden’s January mandate to OSHA to provide clear guidance to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure, OSHA has issued “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.”

OSHA’s new guidance is intended to inform employers and workers of the risks of COVID-19, help identify risks of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19, and help determine appropriate control measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. While neither a new standard nor regulation that creates new legal obligations on behalf of employers, this guidance represents a significant shift in OSHA’s response to the pandemic.

OSHA now clearly states that employers should implement COVID-19 prevention programs specific to their workplaces, recommending specific program elements, including:

  • Assigning a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19
  • Identifying where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work through hazard assessments
  • Identifying a combination of control measures that limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • Establishing a communication system that all employees can utilize and understand
  • Adopting non-punitive measures and policies to ensure that workers who are infected or potentially infected are separated and sent home from the workplace
  • Performing enhanced cleaning and disinfection after people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 have been in the facility
  • Making a COVID-19 vaccineor vaccination series available at no cost to eligible employees
  • Continuing to require protective measures despite employees being vaccinated
  • Ensuring that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers
  • Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns

As President Biden continues to make responding to the COVID-19 pandemic a cornerstone of his presidency, employers can likely expect more guidance in the coming weeks.

Print:
EmailTweetLikeLinkedIn
Photo of Christina Niro Christina Niro

Christina advises and represents employers in a broad range of employment law matters, from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment, to cases involving contract disputes, restrictive covenants, trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition. She has litigated and tried cases in state and federal courts and…

Christina advises and represents employers in a broad range of employment law matters, from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment, to cases involving contract disputes, restrictive covenants, trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition. She has litigated and tried cases in state and federal courts and various administrative agencies. Christina also provides employers of all sizes with day-to-day preventive counseling on wage and hour issues, employee discipline, litigation prevention strategies, employee handbook and policy development, and adherence to federal and state family and medical leave laws. Christina also conducts EEO training to help employers understand, prevent and correct discrimination in the workplace.

Photo of Jonathan Scandling Jonathan Scandling

Jon focuses his practice on the representation of management in all aspects of labor and employment law. He provides counseling and training to clients for best practices on a wide range of human resource issues such as terminations, compliance with employment laws, workplace…

Jon focuses his practice on the representation of management in all aspects of labor and employment law. He provides counseling and training to clients for best practices on a wide range of human resource issues such as terminations, compliance with employment laws, workplace investigations, and the preparation of policies and employment agreements. Jon also assists with the implementation of arbitration agreements and policies for employers.

Jon has extensive experience in public sector labor & employment law, with much of his practice revolving around traditional labor matters. Prior to Frantz Ward, Jon worked for Cuyahoga County as an Assistant Law Director in the Labor & Employment Group. While at the County, Jon’s practice involved traditional labor matters where he represented management in a complex labor/management relationship comprised of over 37 separate bargaining units, employment litigation and general employment counseling. He appeared in both state and federal court, and represented management in State Employment Relations Board hearings, contract negotiations, grievance arbitration and various other forums. Jon also has extensive experience dealing directly with various public sector unions, ranging from deputy and correction officers to office workers and clerical employees. He also was a law clerk for the State Employment Relations Board in Columbus.