The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has several new standards in place for preventing risks related to COVID-19 transmission in both indoor and outdoor workplaces. COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness that passes between people primarily from respiratory droplets produced by coughs, sneezes, and speaking. OSHA has tips for employers on how to make the transition as easy and comfortable as possible for workers adjusting to their new normal.
Working indoors and wearing facemasks or coverings can be uncomfortable because of temperature or from performing strenuous workplace activities typically related to electric utility, fire service, baking, laundry, kitchen, mill, foundry, manufacturing, or warehouse work. OSHA recommends that employers follow particular practices to protect workers from spreading COVID-19 as well as to prevent heat-related illnesses (e.g. heat stress and heat stroke) from occurring. Employers of indoor worker can take the following steps to promote comfortable mask and face covering wearing between employees:
Just like indoor workers, outdoor workers who are employed in the agriculture, construction, gas and oil, landscaping, and delivery industries may also experience slight bouts of discomfort when transitioning to wearing masks in the workplace. OSHA’s tips for indoor workers are the same for outdoor workers: give them time to adjust to their work environment, ensure that workers maintain minimum social distancing requirements, allow the removal of face coverings when there is sufficient space between workers, and create physical spaces for safely distanced breaks.
Indoor and outdoor workers should also be wary of the signs of heat emergencies, such as when a worker experiences an illness like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Employers also must remember that facemasks and coverings do not act as a substitute for providing adequate personal protective equipment, or PPE, to workers. Some other effective control methods that employers should use to protect workers from potential COVID-19-related complications in indoor and outdoor workplaces includes:
Every employer needs to take steps to protect workers, perhaps even more now than ever before. If your workplace failed to enact effective control methods for limiting the known risks associated with COVID-19, a representative at our firm may be able to help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
If you were injured at work, please contact our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys. Galfand Berger has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.