OSHA Creates Guidelines on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released recommendations for preparing workplaces for COVID-19. These guidelines were carefully curated for cleaning professionals who are helping create safe and healthy environments. Read the full guidelines to ensure your organization is doing its due diligence to maintain workplaces as we combat the coronavirus. For more information on what Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) is doing to help the BSC community, visit our COVID-19 resource page.
The rapid spread of viruses, including the coronavirus and the influenza viruses, increases the need for precise cleaning measures. Make sure that your organization has an action plan to reduce workers’ risk of exposure to viruses.
- Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan
- Prepare to implement basic infection prevention measures
- Develop policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick people, if appropriate
- Develop, implement and communicate about workplace flexibilities and protections
- Implement workplace controls
- Follow existing OSHA standards
Classifying worker exposure is another important step as your organization implements new guidelines during this time. Worker risk may vary from “very high” to “lower risk,” and each risk level requires specific procedures to reduce the chance of contracting the virus. Determine under which category your employees fall and visit the recommended resources for more information on how you can help them stay safe and healthy.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can play a big role in helping your employees reduce the risk of getting sick. When selecting PPE, consider the following:
- Decontamination ability
Consider how often PPE will be in use. If employers will use the PPE frequently and for long periods, investing in a more expensive, durable PPE is your best option. Examples of PPE include gowns, facemasks, gloves, and face shields and goggles.
If your employers work in health care facilities, revisit the following existing guidelines and facility standards for protecting workers.
- Develop and implement policies that reduce exposure.
- Ensure that psychological and behavioral support is available to address employee stress.
- Consider offering enhanced medical monitoring of workers during COVID-19 outbreaks.
- Provide all workers with job-specific education and training on preventing transmission of COVID-19, including initial and routine/refresher training.
As new updates develop each day, it is important to check important resources every day, to ensure your organization is following protocol. You can access all of OSHA’s publications here, and to access resources for establishing a safety and health program, click here.
Read the full publication here.