OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work
Now that many states are in various stages of “reopening,” it is time to focus on doing so safely. On June 18, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released its guidance to assist employers in reopening non-essential businesses during this pandemic: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA4045.pdf. This most recent guidance supplements previously-developed guidelines that have been published by the Department of Labor and the White House’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Opening-Up-America-Again.pdf.
Of course, any business reopening should coordinate with the lifting of any stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders of their federal, state or local governments and any public health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and any industry-specific guidelines. The new OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work sets forth guiding principles on hazard assessments, hygiene, social distancing practices, workplace controls, and identification and isolation of sick employees. Examples of how to implement these principles are also provided. Finally, there are a number of Frequently Asked Questions which should further inform businesses as they seek to reopen. A good example is OSHA’s June 10, 2020, FAQ on face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators in the workplace: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/covid-19-faq.html.
Paul J. Schumacher