We are all eager to get back to ‘business as usual’ but these are such unusual times. OSHA has published Return to work safety guidelines that are available here https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/safework (updated regularly).
To summarize this document from OSHA, we have highlighted three key takaways:
- Designate a staff member/manager to monitor COVID as a central part of their job. This person would enforce social distancing and mask usage, monitor the supply of sanitation equipment, and purchase new safety measures as recommended by the CDC and Osha
- Designate a staffer (HR or otherwise) who is a confidential reporting entity for workers who may be experiencing COVID symptoms. It is imperative that employees feel safe from reprisal when considering reporting their symptoms.
- Designate a communications team member (marketing or HR) who can explain and publish internal policies in a meaningful and understandable way to the entire COVID protocols are less effective when only *some* employees are able to comply with instructions. Consider translating the instructions into Spanish or other languages to include your maintenance staff, and other non-English speaking constituents.
OSHA also has reporting requirements for employees that are important. See this excerpt below from their guidance about reporting:
Recording and reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths: Employers are responsible for recording work-related cases of COVID-19 illness on their Form 300 logs if the following requirements are met: (1) the case is a confirmed case of COVID-19; (2) the case is work-related (as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5); and (3) the case involves one or more relevant recording criteria (set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7) (e.g., medical treatment, days away from work). Employers must follow the requirements in 29 CFR 1904 when reporting COVID-19 fatalities and hospitalizations to OSHA. More information is available on OSHA's website. Employers should also report outbreaks to health departments as required and support their contact tracing efforts.
In addition, employers should be aware that reprisal or discrimination against an employee for speaking out about unsafe working conditions or reporting an infection or exposure to COVID-19 to an employer or OSHA would constitute a violation of Section 11(c) of the Act. In addition, 29 CFR 1904.35(b) also prohibits discrimination against an employee for reporting a work-related illness.
DII is committed to helping our clients and partners bring their staff safely back to work. If you have any questions about how COVID 19 Return to Work policies may affect your business, please contact your DII agent.