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US | COVID-19 | OSHA Aligns Workplace Guidance with CDC Recommendations

On August 13, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised its COVID-19 guidance to align with recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) on July 27, 2021, which reorganize the Appendix recommendations for Manufacturing, Meat and Poultry Processing, Seafood Processing, and Agricultural Processing Industries. OSHA also provided links to guidance with the most up-to-date content.

OSHA designed the guidance to help employers protect:

  • Workers who are unvaccinated, including those who are not fully vaccinated, or otherwise at-risk
  • Workers who are fully vaccinated but located in areas of substantial or high community transmission

The guidance is intended for employers and workers not covered by OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare. At-risk workers are those who have conditions that may affect workers’ ability to have a full immune response to vaccination.

Employers should:
  • Facilitate employees getting vaccinated
  • Instruct any workers to stay home from work if they are infected, if they are unvaccinated and have had close contact with someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms
  • Implement physical distancing in all communal work areas for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers
  • Provide workers with face coverings or surgical masks, as appropriate, unless their work task requires a respirator or other PPE
  • Educate and train workers on your COVID-19 policies and procedures using accessible formats and in languages they understand
  • Suggest or require that unvaccinated customers, visitors, or guests wear face coverings in public-facing workplaces such as retail establishments
  • Suggest or require that all customers, visitors, or guests wear face coverings in public, indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission
  • Maintain ventilation systems
  • Perform routine cleaning and disinfection
  • Record and report COVID-19 infections and deaths
  • Implement protections from retaliation and set up an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19-related hazards
  • Follow other applicable mandatory OSHA standards
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