OSHA issues updated COVID-19 guidance for protecting workers

August 17, 2021

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued updated guidance to help employers protect workers from COVID-19, according to www.osha.gov. It reflects developments in science and data, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated COVID-19 guidance issued July 27.

The updated guidance expands information about appropriate measures for protecting workers in higher-risk workplaces with mixed-vaccination-status workers, particularly for industries such as manufacturing; meat, seafood and poultry processing; high-volume retail and grocery; and agricultural processing, where there often is prolonged close contact with other workers or nonworkers. Although the guidance affects high-risk workers, roofing professionals could be affected if they work in facilities where high-risk workers are employed.

OSHA’s latest guidance:

  • Recommends fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission wear masks to protect unvaccinated workers
  • Recommends fully vaccinated workers who have close contact with people with COVID-19 wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative COVID-19 test at least three to five 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
  • Links to the latest guidance regarding K-12 schools and CDC statements regarding public transit

OSHA continues to emphasize vaccination is the optimal step to protect workers and encourages employers to engage with workers and their representatives to implement multilayered approaches to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers from COVID-19.

Tags: Safety | OSHA

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