In our previous client alert, we notified you that President Biden issued an executive order instructing the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) to provide updated COVID-19 guidance for employers. On January 29, 2021, OSHA issued updated guidance regarding suggested measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. OSHA’s new guidance contains only recommendations and does not create new obligations for employers.
The recommendations contained in the guidance include many precautions that most employers have already implemented since the start of the pandemic. The guidance does briefly address the subject of vaccinated employees, and suggests that employees who have been vaccinated must continue to follow all protective measures applicable to non-vaccinated employees, including the use of face coverings and physical distancing.
Some additional measures OSHA suggests in its updated guidance include the following:
- Employers should assign a workplace coordinator responsible for handling COVID-19 issues.
- Employers should consider providing a COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to eligible employees.
- Employers should create an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19 related hazards and implement protections from retaliation for employees who do so.
- Employers should minimize the negative impact of quarantine and isolation by implementing non-punitive policies for employees, such as allowing employees to work remotely, work in areas isolated from others, or use paid sick leave.
A copy of OSHA’s updated guidance can be found here.
Please contact us with any questions or for assistance in implementing practical solutions to ensure compliance with applicable law.