OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

by Amie Remington, Esq., on February 18, 2021
OSHA rules are changing quickly under the guidance of a new administration and the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

OSHA recently established a new set of guidelines to reduce the spread of coronavirus in the workplace.
Issued on January 29, 2021, this guidance addresses how to create an effective program for reducing the spread of coronavirus at work. The plan does not contain any legal requirements; business owners should use it for "planning purposes."  Following the guidance may provide a solid defense in the event that your organization is sued for COVID-related issues.
New OSHA COVID-19 workplace guidelines include:
  • Assign a workplace coordinator responsible for corona virus issues
  • Identify where and how employees might be exposed at work
  • Identify measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, including:
    • Separate and send home potentially infected employees
    • Implement physical distancing and barriers
    • Require face coverings
    • Improve ventilation
    • Use applicable PPE, good hygiene, and cleaning/disinfection practices
    • Provide reasonable accommodations or modifications to workers at higher risk of severe illness
  • Effectively communicate with employees about coronavirus in a language they understand and providing them with guidance on screening and testing
  • Educate and train employees on COVID-19 policies and procedures
  • Minimize the negative impact of quarantine and isolation on workers by allowing telework or work at alternative locations where possible
  • Record and report coronavirus infections and deaths consistent with applicable OSHA requirements
  • Establish a process for employees to anonymously express concerns about COVID-19 hazards and ensuring that they are not discriminated against or retaliated against in any way
  • Make coronavirus vaccines available to employees and requiring all employees to follow preventive practices, regardless of whether they are vaccinated

If you need help establishing and managing safety protocols for your business, LandrumHR Risk Management Services can help you stay compliant, even in the face of ever-changing regulations.
Early in the pandemic, LandrumHR stepped in to help mitigate COVID-19 risks for a manufacturing client in Pensacola, where more than 200 LandrumHR employees work onsite in manufacturing and related jobs. These early coronavirus prevention efforts helped stave off outbreaks that could have negatively impacted company, its workforce and its supply chain. 

We bring a professional safety team onboard for you. This team identifies and addresses any risks your company might face. Our services range from safety training to policy-making and OSHA and state compliance needs, such as biomedical waste management.

At LandrumHR, our goals are to create a safe workplace and minimize incidents that could lead to workers’ compensation claims. We assess your company and its existing policies and tailor a safety plan to your needs and your situation.

While the OSHA coronavirus guidelines are not law, there are plenty of other regulation changes on the horizon, and the stakes are now higher for employers with the recent adoption of higher OSHA fines for infractions.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has had any lesson for employers, it's to be prepared. Having plans to protect your workforce, your business, your clients and your bottom line will continue to be a significant issue in 2021.
We've seen it happen once, and while we hope never to see another devastating pandemic, we now better understand what is possible and the impacts it can have on us all without the right preparation.
Amie Remington, Esq.

As General Counsel of LandrumHR, Amie advises on all business and employment-related legal issues. She is also a regular speaker at national and state-wide events, discussing all aspects of employment law that affect all employers, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the state counterparts to these laws. Before joining LandrumHR, Amie was a partner in the law firm of Bozeman, Jenkins & Matthews, P.A., where she represented employers, management and the State of Florida in all types of employment-related matters. At the firm, Amie focused on policy creation, prevention of discrimination and harassment and management education and training, as well as all aspects of employment litigation, including trial and appeal work.

View more blogs by Amie Remington, Esq.