The Occupational Safety and Health Act (the Act) was enacted to regulate workplace safety and health. The Act is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The Act and its accompanying regulations identify a significant number of recognized hazards and establish safety and health standards to address them. However, even when no standard specific to a recognized hazard applies, the Act requires employers to look after their employees’ general safety and health.
For this reason, from time to time OSHA has published guidance for
employers on dealing with various general health concerns, including
epidemics and infectious diseases. This Compliance Bulletin provides OSHA’s guidance on how employers can prepare for and deal with COVID-19.
- OSHA considers COVID-19 infections to be a recordable illness when a worker is infected on the job.
- Employers should consider whether their workers may encounter someone infected with COVID-19 in the course of their employment.
- Employers must determine whether to train their employees about virus exposure, hazard recognition and appropriate protocols for
preventing or reducing the likelihood of exposure.
Affected standards may include:
- Personal protective equipment (respirators)
- General duty clause
- Bloodborne pathogens
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection
- Recordkeeping and reporting