As offices begin to reopen and staff members are returning to the workplace, employers are prioritizing the health and safety of their employees, customers, supply chain, and the communities they serve. In order to promote health and safety while maintaining operations and complying with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, employers should consider developing a Pandemic Response and/or Preparedness Plan to establish the requirements to address health concerns caused by pandemic diseases. Plans should be based on the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OSHA, and local/state guidelines and recommendations. In fact, the CDC and OSHA suggest employers conduct a thorough hazard assessment of the workplace to identify potential workplace hazards related to COVID-19. From there, employers should use appropriate combinations of controls to limit the spread of COVID-19, including engineering controls (e.g., install high-efficiency air filters, increase ventilation rates), workplace administrative policies (e.g., require sick employees to stay home, discontinue nonessential travel, provide training), and personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect workers from the identified hazards. The plan should also address common questions such as:
- “What is our policy if an employee comes to work with COVID-19 symptoms?”
- “What is our policy if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19?”
- “When should an employee suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 return to work?”
- “Do employees need to wear cloth face covering or PPE to protect themselves while working?”
Trinity is actively following the latest available CDC, OSHA, and state/local guidance and is currently assisting clients with plan preparation. Please contact our Charlotte office 704.553.7747, or Raleigh office 919.462.4639 for more information.