At the end of January 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provided updated guidance for employers regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidelines should be used to identify risks for workers who could be exposed to COVID-19. The OSHA is tasked to ensure that employers provide their workers with a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that could cause physical harm or death.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is highly infectious and can be spread from person to person. Scientists have concluded that the virus can be spread by people who exhibit no symptoms, and about 50 percent of the spread of the virus is caused by people who are asymptomatic. The following contains OSHA workplace recommendations.
Conduct Safety Assessments
Employers should assign a workplace coordinator for COVID-19 prevention regulations. This person is to be responsible on the employer’s behalf for addressing issues related to COVID-19.
Employers should conduct hazard assessments. These assessments should include input from employees since they are most familiar with the work conditions. An assessment should include where and how workers are most likely to be exposed to COVID-19.
Employers should identify a combination of measures that will limit the spread of COVID-19. Some of these measures include:
- Improving ventilation.
- Using applicable personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Performing routine cleaning.
- Installing barriers where physical distances cannot be maintained.
- Making sure policies are adhered to.
- Ensuring that employees are using appropriate face coverings.
- Implementing physical distancing in all communal work areas. This may also include providing employees the equipment to work remotely.
- Providing adequate hygiene products in the workplace.
Provide supportive policies and practices to high-risk workers. This may include providing reasonable accommodations to older workers or workers with serious underlying health conditions. Where available, employers should have policies that permit working remotely. Employers should ensure that absence policies are nonpunitive.
Additionally, it is crucial to establish a system to communicate effectively with workers. Given the confusion and potential misinformation surrounding COVID-19, direct communication to employees regarding the subject is very important. It may mean that employers are communicating more often with employees in writing or during meetings. Some workers may not even have the correct information about how the virus spreads and the importance of physical distancing. Employers should assume that employees are starting from no knowledge at all when dispersing information.
What if I Need Help with a Work-Related Injury or Illness?
For further guidance, a worker should review information posted on the OSHA website. If an employee is concerned about benefits for a work injury or illness, they should speak to a lawyer. A lawyer will explain the options to their client and help them receive workers’ compensation if it is available to them.
Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC Advocate for Workplace Safety Regulations During the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you have a work injury or illness, you are likely eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits. A Downingtown workers’ compensation lawyer at Wusinich & Sweeney, LLC can effectively analyze to your situation and help you collect benefits when you qualify. Employers can use government guidance to help lower the impact of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation about your case today. We have an office located in Exton, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.