OSHA Updates COVID-19 Guidance
August 18, 2021
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its COVID-19 guidance for most employers (all those not covered by the emergency temporary standard adopted for healthcare employers). The new guidance, dated August 13, 2021, is intended to reflect the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for protecting workers who are unvaccinated and addressing safe practices for all workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission.
OSHA strongly encourages employers to facilitate vaccination. In fact, OSHA now “suggests that employers consider adopting policies that require workers to get vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing – in addition to mask wearing and physical distancing – if they remain unvaccinated.”
According to its press release, OSHA’s latest guidance also does the following:
- recommends that fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission wear masks in order to protect unvaccinated workers;
- recommends that fully vaccinated workers who have close contacts with people with coronavirus wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative coronavirus test at least 3-5 days after such contact;
- clarifies recommendations to protect unvaccinated workers and other at-risk workers in manufacturing, meat and poultry processing, seafood processing and agricultural processing; and
- links to the latest guidance on K-12 schools and CDC statements on public transit.
In updating its guidance to incorporate the latest CDC recommendations, OSHA further addresses what type of physical distancing employers should require and what measures employers should consider with regard to customers, visitors and guests.
We encourage all employers to carefully review this updated guidance and contact a KZA attorney with your questions. We are here to help you navigate these murky waters.
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