USA: OSHA has issued significantly stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus prevention program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and contraction.
Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards.
The guidance details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings.
It also provides detailed guidance on the use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning.
OSHA is also considering whether any emergency temporary standards on COVID-19, including with respect to masks in the workplace, are necessary.
There is also a fresh review of the enforcement efforts of OSHA related to COVID-19, which aims to identify any changes that could be made to better protect workers and ensure equity in enforcement.
Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor M. Patricia Smith said employers and workers could help the nation fight and overcome the pandemic by “committing themselves to making their workplaces as safe as possible.”
“More than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions of people are out of work as a result of this crisis.”
“The recommendations in OSHA’s updated guidance will help us defeat the virus, strengthen our economy and bring an end to the staggering human and economic toll that the coronavirus has taken on our nation.”
OSHA said it would update guidance as developments in science, best practices and standards warrant.
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