National Construction Practice Safety Alert
In response to the growing concern over the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), on March 9, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new guidance: “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19”. The 32 page document is intended to assist employers and workers in identifying risk levels in workplace settings and determining appropriate control measures to implement. The guidance contains information about COVID-19 and how it spreads, how the outbreak may affect workplaces, and steps employers can take to reduce workers’ risk of exposure. These steps include:
- Developing an infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan
- Implementing basic infection prevention measures
- Developing policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick people
- Developing, implementing and communicating with workers about workplace flexibilities and protections
- Implement workplace controls such as Engineering Controls, Administrative Controls, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) controls (examples are provided in the Guidance)
- Following existing OSHA Standards including:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910#1910_Subpart_I
- General Duty Clause: osha.gov/laws-regs/oshact/completeoshact
- Bloodborne Pathogens: osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.1030
The OSHA COVID-19 webpage provides additional information about OSHA standards and requirements, including requirements in states that operate their own OSHA-approved State Plans, recordkeeping requirements and injury/illness recording criteria, and application of standards related to sanitation and communication of risks related to hazardous chemicals that may be in common sanitizers and sterilizers: www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html
To help employers determine the appropriate precautions, OSHA has divided job tasks into four risk exposure levels: very high, high, medium, and lower risk. The Guidance identifies the industries and types of workers in each risk category and recommends specific Engineering, Administrative and Personal Protective Equipment controls to mitigate the risks. The complete Guidance is available at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf.
Other websites with the most current and accurate information on COVID-19 include:
For more of EPIC’s coronavirus coverage, visit epicbrokers.com/coronavirus
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