(OSHA) issued new guidance on COVID-19 safety for all industries focused on protecting workers who are not vaccinated or who are otherwise at risk in the workplace. OSHA urges all employers to familiarize themselves with the guidance as soon as possible.
Below are selected key points taken from the guidance.
- Provide employees with paid leave for the COVID-19 vaccination: The refundable Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) tax credit may be available to businesses who provide paid leave for receiving the COVID-19 vaccination and recovering from the vaccination.
- Promote distancing of unvaccinated and at-risk workers in workplace common areas: Employers can limit the number of unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers in one work area at any given time by, for example, implementing flexible worksites and shifts. If employees in a specific work area cannot be separated, employers can separate such employees with solid barriers (e.g., transparent shields).
- Provide face coverings for unvaccinated and at-risk workers at no cost, unless their work requires other PPE like a respirator: Unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers should wear face coverings, and employers should provide face coverings at no cost. Employers can refer to CDC guidance on masks. Employers may need to provide reasonable accommodations to workers for disability or religious reasons under Title VII. If PPE is necessary at the worksite, employers should follow relevant mandatory OSHA standards and may contact an OSHA professional for help determining the proper face covering.
- Recommend unvaccinated customers, visitors, or guests wear face coverings, especially in workplaces where unvaccinated or at-risk workers interact with customers