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Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace

By: Carl Habekost, Esq.

chabekost@bugbeelawyers.com

On January 29, 2021 the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Frederick issued a Guidance statement providing information to employers and employees regarding the implementation of a COVID-19 protection program.  The Guidance is intended to be informational only to provide assistance to employers for planning and guidance purposes.  However, the statement does recommend that employers use this guidance as one way to identify risks in the workplace of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and determine appropriate control measures, accordingly.  The Guidance statement describes in detail the COVID-19 virus and what employers and employees need to know to mitigate risk of exposure and infection.  Importantly, the Guidance statement identifies and describes the elements of an effective COVID-19 prevention program and recommendations for quarantining exposed or infected individuals.  Most of the substance of the Guidance statement is well known and issued previously by OSHA.  However, the language used in the Guidance statement issued on January 29, 2021 is stronger and should cause employers to understand and appreciate their responsibility to make a good faith effort to comply with the recommendations.  The Guidance statement can be found here.  Employers with questions about the Guidance statement or the development of a COVID-19 policy should contact a member of our Labor & Employment section.

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