Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. “To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement.
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Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 ﬁTo assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health.ﬂThis guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply with safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, the Act™s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a) (1), requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Material contained in this publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced, fully or partially, without permission. Source credit is requested but not required.This information will be made available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999; teletypewriter (TTY) number: 1-877-889-5627.
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Contents Introduction 3About COVID-19 4How a COVID-19 Outbreak Could Affect Workplaces ..6Steps All Employers Can Take to Reduce Workers™ Risk of Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 ..7Classifying Worker Exposure to SARS -CoV-2 .. 18Jobs Classi˜ed at Lower Exposure Risk (Caution): What to Do to Protect Workers ..20Jobs Classi˜ed at Medium Exposure Risk: What to Do to Protect Workers ..21Jobs Classi˜ed at High or Very High Exposure Risk: What to Do to Protect Workers ..23 Workers Living Abroad or Travelling Internationally ..25For More Information .26OSHA Assistance, Services, and Programs 27OSHA Regional Of˜ces ..29How to Contact OSHA 32
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GUIDANCE ON PREPARING WORKPLACES FOR COVID-193Introduction Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It has spread from China to many other countries around the world, including the United States. Depending on the severity of COVID-19™s international impacts, outbreak conditionsŠincluding those rising to the level of a pandemicŠcan affect all aspects of daily life, including travel, trade, tourism, food supplies, and ˜nancial markets. To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers, and the public, it is important for all employers to plan now for COVID-19. For employers who have already planned for in˚uenza pandemics, planning for COVID-19 may involve updating plans to address the speci˜c exposure risks, sources of exposure, routes of transmission, and other unique characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., compared to pandemic in˚uenza viruses). Employers who have not prepared for pandemic events should prepare themselves and their workers as far in advance as possible of potentially worsening outbreak conditions. Lack of continuity planning can result in a cascade of failures as employers attempt to address challenges of COVID-19 with insuf˜cient resources and workers who might not be adequately trained for jobs they may have to perform under pandemic conditions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so. This guidance is intended for planning purposes. Employers and workers should use this planning guidance to help identify risk levels in workplace settings and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement. Additional guidance may be needed as COVID-19 outbreak conditions change, including as new information about the virus, its transmission, and impacts, becomes available.
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OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION4The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services™ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the latest information about COVID-19 and the global outbreak: www. cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov .The OSHA COVID-19 webpage offers information speci˜cally for workers and employers: www.osha.gov/covid-19 .This guidance is advisory in nature and informational in content. It is not a standard or a regulation, and it neither creates new legal obligations nor alters existing obligations created by OSHA standards or the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). Pursuant to the OSH Act, employers must comply with safety and health standards and regulations issued and enforced either by OSHA or by an OSHA-approved State Plan. In addition, the OSH Act™s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) , requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA-approved State Plans may have standards, regulations and enforcement policies that are different from, but at least as effective as, OSHA™s. Check with your State Plan , as applicable, for more information. About COVID-19 Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can cause illness ranging from mild to severe and, in some cases, can be fatal. Symptoms typically include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some people infected with the virus have reported experiencing other non-respiratory symptoms. Other people, referred to as asymptomatic cases , have experienced no symptoms at all. According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
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OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION6How a COVID-19 Outbreak Could Affect Workplaces Similar to in˚uenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has the potential to cause extensive outbreaks. Under conditions associated with widespread person-to- person spread, multiple areas of the United States and other countries may see impacts at the same time. In the absence of a vaccine, an outbreak may also be an extended event. As a result, workplaces may experience: Absenteeism . Workers could be absent because they are sick; are caregivers for sick family members; are caregivers for children if schools or day care centers are closed; have at-risk people at home, such as immunocompromised family members; or are afraid to come to work because of fear of possible exposure. Change in patterns of commerce . Consumer demand for items related to infection prevention (e.g., respirators) is likely to increase signi˜cantly, while consumer interest in other goods may decline. Consumers may also change shopping patterns because of a COVID-19 outbreak. Consumers may try to shop at off-peak hours to reduce contact with other people, show increased interest in home delivery services, or prefer other options, such as drive- through service, to reduce person-to-person contact. Interrupted supply/delivery . Shipments of items from geographic areas severely affected by COVID-19 may be delayed or cancelled with or without noti˜cation. This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. This virus was identi˜ed as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness ˜rst detected in Wuhan, China. Photo: CDC / Alissa Eckert & Dan Higgins
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GUIDANCE ON PREPARING WORKPLACES FOR COVID-197Steps All Employers Can Take to Reduce Workers™ Risk of Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 This section describes basic steps that every employer can take to reduce the risk of worker exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in their workplace. Later sections of this guidanceŠincluding those focusing on jobs classi˜ed as having low, medium, high, and very high exposure risksŠ provide speci˜c recommendations for employers and workers within speci˜c risk categories. Develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan If one does not already exist, develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan that can help guide protective actions against COVID-19. Stay abreast of guidance from federal, state, local, tribal, and/or territorial health agencies, and consider how to incorporate those recommendations and resources into workplace-speci˜c plans. Plans should consider and address the level(s) of risk associated with various worksites and job tasks workers perform at those sites. Such considerations may include: Where, how, and to what sources of SARS-CoV-2 might workers be exposed, including: The general public, customers, and coworkers; and Sick individuals or those at particularly high risk of infection (e.g., international travelers who have visited locations with widespread sustained (ongoing) COVID-19 transmission, healthcare workers who have had unprotected exposures to people known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19). Non-occupational risk factors at home and in community settings.
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OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION8 Workers™ individual risk factors (e.g., older age; presence of chronic medical conditions, including immunocompromising conditions; pregnancy). Controls necessary to address those risks. Follow federal and state, local, tribal, and/or territorial (SLTT) recommendations regarding development of contingency plans for situations that may arise as a result of outbreaks, such as: Increased rates of worker absenteeism. The need for social distancing, staggered work shifts, downsizing operations, delivering services remotely, and other exposure-reducing measures. Options for conducting essential operations with a reduced workforce, including cross-training workers across different jobs in order to continue operations or deliver surge services. Interrupted supply chains or delayed deliveries. Plans should also consider and address the other steps that employers can take to reduce the risk of worker exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in their workplace, described in the sections below. Prepare to Implement Basic Infection Prevention Measures For most employers, protecting workers will depend on emphasizing basic infection prevention measures. As appropriate, all employers should implement good hygiene and infection control practices, including: Promote frequent and thorough hand washing , including by providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol. Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick . Encourage respiratory etiquette , including covering coughs and sneezes.
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GUIDANCE ON PREPARING WORKPLACES FOR COVID-199 Provide customers and the public with tissues and trash receptacles. Employers should explore whether they can establish policies and practices , such as ˚exible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and ˚exible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. Discourage workers from using other workers™ phones, desks, of˜ces, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment. When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer™s instructions for use of all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE). Develop Policies and Procedures for Prompt Identi˜cation and Isolation of Sick People, if Appropriate Prompt identi˜cation and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting workers, customers, visitors, and others at a worksite. Employers should inform and encourage employees to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure. Employers should develop policies and procedures for employees to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
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