Information on the coronavirus seems to be everywhere, and it can be difficult to locate the best, most reliable sources.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) just made it easier to get reliable information in one centralized spot with a COVID-19 FAQ page. OSHA’s page features commonly asked questions and answers on protecting workers from the coronavirus pandemic.
“OSHA developed these FAQs based on inquiries received from the public,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA is committed to giving employers and workers the information they need to work safely in this rapidly changing situation.”
Breaking Down the Coronavirus FAQ
The questions are segmented by topic, and include:
- General Information
- Cleaning and Disinfection
- Cloth Face Coverings
- Employer Requirements
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Restrooms and Handwashing Facilities
- Return to Work
- Testing for COVID-19
- Worker Protection Concerns
Here are a few examples of top employer Q&A’s featured on the site:
Are surgical masks or cloth face coverings acceptable respiratory protection in the construction industry, when respirators would be needed but are not available because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
No. Employers must not use surgical masks or cloth face coverings when respirators are needed.
In general, employers should always rely on a hierarchy of controls that first includes efforts to eliminate or substitute out workplace hazards and then uses engineering controls (e.g., ventilation, wet methods), administrative controls (e.g., written procedures, modification of task duration), and safe work practices to prevent worker exposures to respiratory hazards, before relying on personal protective equipment, such as respirators.
When respirators are needed, OSHA’s guidance describes enforcement discretion around use of respirators, including in situations in which it may be necessary to extend the use of or reuse certain respirators, use respirators beyond their manufacturer’s recommended shelf life, and/or use respirators certified under the standards of other countries or jurisdictions.
What topics should employers cover in COVID-19 training for workers?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, employers should consider training workers about:
- The basics of how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads;
- Their risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 on the job;
- Appropriate cleaning and disinfection in the workplace.
- Measures being taken to protect them from exposure and infection, including hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, social distancing, and use of any necessary workplace controls and/or personal protective equipment (PPE);
- What employees should do if they are sick, including staying home and reporting any signs/symptoms of COVID-19 to their supervisor.
Some OSHA standards require employers to provide specific training to workers. The training that is necessary can vary depending on a worker’s job tasks, exposure risks, and the type of controls implemented to protect workers. See OSHA’s COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page for more specific information.
Learn more by checking out the full list of FAQs. For additional resources, OSHA has also published Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, and more recently, Guidance on Returning to Work to help employers in the reopening process for businesses and a resuming of employee operations.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests (including N95 masks) and audiometric exams, as well as pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!