The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has released revised guidance to help identify COVID-19 exposure risks for unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers and to help prevent exposure and infection. The guidance provides that unless otherwise required by federal, state or local law, most employers no longer need to put protections in place for fully vaccinated workers who are not otherwise at-risk from COVID-19 exposure.
The revised guidance focuses only on protecting unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers in their workplaces (or well-defined portions of workplaces) and recommends the following:
- Granting paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.
- Instructing infected workers, unvaccinated workers with exposure to someone testing positive for COVID-19, and workers with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work.
- Implementing physical distancing in communal work areas for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers.
- Providing unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers with face coverings (New Jersey requires face coverings for unvaccinated employees who cannot social distance in Indoor Workplaces not open to the public).
- Suggesting that unvaccinated customers, visitors or guests wear face coverings.
- Continuing to perform routine cleaning and disinfection.
- Implementing protections from retaliation and set up an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19 related hazards.
- Maintain ventilation systems.
Dealerships are not mandated to follow these suggested practices; however, OSHA will consider an employer’s good faith efforts to comply with its guidance in the context of enforcement. OSHA does require that dealerships follow the mandatory OSHA standards which includes requirements for PPE, requirements for respiratory protection, requirements for sanitation, requirements for protection from bloodborne pathogens, provide employees access to medical and exposure records and requirement to record and report COVID-19 infections and deaths.
For an expanded analysis of the above suggested practices please visit the OSHA website: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/safework.