You don't have to like it or even agree with it but please pay attention to it!
As a Safety Professional, I strongly advise that you “Understand” it!!!
OSHA has issued guidance intended to inform employers and workers in most workplace settings to help them identify risks of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19 at work and to help them determine appropriate control measures to implement.
As much of this guidance is non-mandatory, disregarding actual hazards relating to COVID-19 in the workplace can make employers susceptible to violation under OSHA’s “General Duty Clause”.
Additionally, there ARE, in some instances where specific Standards may apply to you as a result of activities related to COVID-19
Understand the capabilities, limitations and potential dangers associated with face coverings. Some face coverings/masks have important OSHA standards that must be followed, others must meet other specific NIOSH and/or ANSI specifications. The "grace period" is over so understand your responsibilities before you face fines or penalties.
DID YOU KNOW?: An "N-95" face mask is not a "Face Mask"? It's actually a "Respirator" and is subject to 29 CFR, 1910.134 standards
There currently is no OSHA "Standard" specific with SARS-CoV2 however, COVID-19 has obviously been recognized as a "Hazard" likely to cause serious harm or death. With this, the OSH act can/does come into play. Any employee, who has the “potential” to come into contact with or could be exposed to in anyway should be required by their employer to wear proper personal protective equipment. This would make wearing a face mask mandatory during a “Pandemic” or in areas an “Epidemic” has been declared. This would be regardless of, and held separately from, any State or local “Mask Mandates” or lack there-of. Additionally, under the “General Duty Clause” in the OSH act, employees must adhere to the standard so technically, it’s not a “choice”
Federal OSHA has published guidance intended to inform employers and workers in most workplace settings outside of healthcare to help them identify risks of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19 at work and to help them determine appropriate control measures to implement. There is separate guidance applicable to healthcare and emergency response.
Additionally, OSHA has industry-specific guidance which 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.
More information can be found here:
ASCG can help your business determine how and what guidelines and/or standards should be followed
Small Business Guidance with OSHA COVID-19 requirements
There are several OSHA standards and directives as well as other related information that may apply to worker exposure to the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
OSHA requirements apply to preventing occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Among the most relevant are:
OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) applies to occupational exposure to human blood and other potentially infectious materials that typically do not include respiratory secretions that may contain SARS-CoV-2 (unless visible blood is present). However, the provisions of the standard offer a framework that may help control some sources of the virus, including exposures to body fluids (e.g., respiratory secretions) not covered by the standard.
COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following are true: