U.S. Issues Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (Washington, DC, USA) has published “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” to help companies respond in the event of coronavirus in the workplace.

The new March 2020 guidance, which applies to a wide range of industries, was developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

Preventing COVID-19 Spread

The document provides practical guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus, and contains information on safe work practices and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) based on the risk level of exposure.

“Protecting the health and safety of America’s workforce is a key component of this Administration’s comprehensive approach to combating the coronavirus,” says Loren Sweatt, principal deputy assistant secretary for occupational safety and health. “This guidance outlines practical ways that employers and workers can address potential health risks from the coronavirus in their workplaces.”

This guidance is part of the Department of Labor’s ongoing efforts to educate workers and employers across the United States about the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition to the guidance, OSHA recently launched a COVID-19 web page that provides infection prevention information specifically for workers and employers. Furthermore, OSHA is actively reviewing and responding to any complaints regarding workplace protection from novel coronavirus, as well as conducting outreach activities.

Potential Business Effects

From a business perspective, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division is providing information on common issues that employers and employee mays face when responding to COVID-19. This includes effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Further interim guidance to businesses and employers about Coronavirus response is available through the HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) also has its own web page for small business guidance and loan resources.

Source: DOL, www.dol.gov.