OSHA Infection Prevention Measures
Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take To Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus: (April 9, 2020) OSHA has issued a new poster outlining steps that all workplaces can take to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus. The new poster is available for download in English or Spanish.
Important steps and safety measures include
- Encouraging sick workers to stay home;
- Establishing flexible worksites and staggered work shifts;
- Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, and other work equipment; and
- Using Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals with label claims against the coronavirus.
Additional information about workplace safety is available on OSHA’s coronavirus webpage, which is updated frequently.
The CDC Recommendations Include
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of signs of a fever and any other symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 24 hours.
- Separate sick employees. Employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.
- Emphasize hand hygiene. Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%-95% alcohol or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
- Perform routine environmental cleaning. Employers should routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs.
In addition to following the CDC’s interim guidance, employers should consider the following best practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Educate employees on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and the precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk of contracting the virus, without causing panic.
- Appoint a single individual or department as the point of contact within your organization for employee questions about COVID-19.
- Review safety programs and emergency action plans to ensure that they include infectious-disease protocols.
- Implement travel guidelines and procedures for approving travel to and from China.
Employers should closely monitor the CDC and WHO websites for the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19.