COVID-19 is something that has changed everything and has impacted virtually every aspect of our lives. However, one of the more prominent aspects it has affected is our work. Prior to the pandemic, remote working was a rare practice, and after COVID-19 hit the US (along with the rest of the world), remote work has become the new normal. Many reputed companies have even announced that their employees will be working remotely from now on. COVID-19 has also affected workplace safety, forcing OSHA to adapt to the challenges of the virus. Very recently, OSHA guidance for COVID-19 was introduced in order to reduce and prevent the virus’s spread.
That being said, let’s see some of the elements of the guidance, why it might be challenging to some employers, and how CloudApper Safety can simplify OSHA compliance.
The new OSHA guidance for COVID-19 is more detailed than before
At the end of January 2021, new OSHA guidance for COVID-19 was released that focuses on the biggest concern in recent times – reducing and preventing COVID-19. However, the guidance focuses on preventing it in the workplace. This was a direct response to President Biden’s Executive Order regarding Protecting Worker Health and Safety, and its purpose is to inform non-healthcare industries about COVID-19, how to identify the risk of exposures, and how to decide on the best ways to control spread within the workplace.
The guidance is more detailed than before and is “for planning purposes”. While this means that employers aren’t enforced to use them, it suggests that there will be requirements down the line employers will have to meet regarding COVID-19 prevention and mitigation. Thus, using the guidance now will be beneficial for most employers as it prepares them for what’s to come.
OSHA guidance for COVID-19 focuses on utilizing a COVID-19 prevention program
While the guidance talks about a number of things, it focuses heavily on utilizing a COVID-19 prevention program in the workplace – the agency thinks that having one is the best way to reduce COVID-19 spread.
That being said, OSHA also provided what elements to include in the program – some of them are:
- Assigning a workplace coordinator for addressing COVID-19 issues.
- Utilizing a hazard assessment to detect the means and locations where workers might get exposed to the virus.
- Coming up with preventative measures that focus on mitigating COVID-19’s spread – this can include policies, PPE, and engineering hazards.
- Protecting workers that might be susceptible to severe illness using supportive policies and practices.
- Providing a communication system in a language understood by all the workers – also includes encouraging workers to report COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, or relevant hazards in the workplace.
- Providing training and education regarding COVID-19 policies and procedures to workers, facility visitors, and contractors.
- Advising infected or potentially COVID-19 positive workers to isolate or quarantine.
- Implementing flexible paid leave policies and telework to mitigate negative effects.
- Deploying screening and testing facilities in the workplace.
- Making COVID-19 vaccines available to workers at no cost and educating workers about their benefits.
- Enforcing social distancing policies even for vaccinated workers.
- Collecting data regarding COVID-19 infections and deaths and reporting it.
Employers are already burdened with ongoing challenges
COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the entire world, and virtually all organizations have felt its effects. Unfortunately, many organizations were forced to reduce their workforce, introduce pay cuts, and even shut down entirely. While organizations are slowly recovering from COVID-19 and its challenges, following OSHA’s new guidance, while not mandatory yet, can prove to be an administrative burden. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be – CloudApper Safety can help.
CloudApper Safety simplifies OSHA compliance management
A robust OSHA recordkeeping software like no other, CloudApper Safety can help organizations streamline OSHA compliance, record injuries, and illnesses, and help with the new OSHA guidance. The best part is that organizations can do all of this, and more, by using smartphones and tablets. Near misses, incidents, as well as COVID-19 hazards can be easily reported by nearby employees via their smartphones. This helps the management to make decisions in due time – improving efficiency and mitigating risks. By keeping all the updated information in a centralized location, Safety helps to reduce the administrative burden, enhance employee safety, and boost the bottom line – contact us now to learn how it can help you.