On January 29, 2021, OSHA* issued a new guidance addressing mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. This article by Jackson Lewis provides a thorough discussion of the new guidance and its potential implications for employers. Much of this new guidance reiterates information that has previously been provided by OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control. It also points out issues that OSHA considers to be important and insights into what might be included in a new standard on this subject that is expected to be issued in March of 2021. Please be aware that one item the new guidance suggests is that vaccines be provided at no cost to employees. This article on whether or not to mandate vaccines may provide additional helpful information as employers are considering how to proceed. Keep in mind, as the vaccine is being distributed, that OSHA continues to recommend that all existing safety precautions being taken in the workplace (i.e. masks, social distancing, personal protective equipment, etc.) continue even after employees have been vaccinated. If you have questions about this OSHA guidance, please contact your PBPA attorney.
* Need a quick reminder on what “OSHA” stands for and which employers are subject to compliance? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates safety in the workplace and issues standards for safety in various industries and workplace situations. All employers have a general duty under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act administered by OSHA to provide a safe workplace to their employees. In addition to issuing binding standards that govern employer behavior, OSHA also issues guidance from time to time, which are not binding but provide insight into OSHA’s views on how to keep employees safe.