OSHA 2020 Updates for Worker Safety
As more businesses in the United States start to reopen amidst this COVID-19 crisis, commercial business owners might wonder how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will ensure that the safety of the employees will still be guaranteed and whether it is really safe to even reopen. As provided under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, it is the employers who are responsible for providing safe and healthy workplace conditions for all their employees and this law is put in place to enforce safety standards and to provide training and assistance for ensuring that the employer’s responsibility to the worker is met.
Because of the reopening of the economy, there has been a massive debate between pro-economy supporters who want all businesses to reopen and health-and-safety-first proponents who want to take the safest measures. As such, OSHA has been receiving complaints from affected workers especially those in non-essential businesses. With its main goal of getting each employee home safely from work every day, OSHA is responsible for setting regulations and also enforcing the laws that will address the safety and health concerns brought about by the pandemic.
As a company that has been in the construction industry for a long time already, Best Access Doors stands together with all of the other businesses in this COVID-19 crisis. For anyone’s information, we came up with this article that provides OSHA 2020 updates for worker safety. Here’s what you should know:
1. Revised OSHA Recordkeeping Requirement
The recordkeeping requirements of OSHA has been revised to indicate that COVID-19 is a recordable illness. This means that employers are responsible for recording any cases of the coronavirus.
2. OSHA requires an increase of In-Person Inspections
OSHA also requires the increase of in-person inspections of all businesses, not only essential businesses. All business owners need to know the protocols for keeping their workplace safe, in order to prioritize COVID-19 inspections.
3. OSHA Standards that are applicable to the Coronavirus
The OSHA’s General Duty Clause provides that employers must keep their employees safe from work-related safety and health issues which include the Coronavirus. There are also applicable standards that include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Eye and Face Protection, Hand Protection, and Respiratory Protection standards. Moreover, OSHA also advises employers to provide proper training to all of their workers with reasonably anticipated occupational exposure to COVID-19.
While OSHA acknowledges the fact the employers might experience challenges in complying with certain provisions of the agency’s standards such as obtaining proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Thus, OSHA also offers “enforcement flexibility” for specific provisions of said certain standards– meaning, those companies that are operating in good faith might be granted some leniency if they fail to find N95 masks, etc.
OSHA’s safety measures for workers in the construction industry
OSHA still does not have a specific COVID-19 regulation but it has issued an alert that lists safety tips that employers can follow to help protect construction workers from exposure to the coronavirus. Measures that employers can implement to protect the employees working in construction include the following:
- Encourage their workers to stay home if they are feeling sick or unwell;
- Provide training for workers on how to properly put on, use, wear, and take off protective clothing and equipment;
- Instruct workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading and/or acquiring the virus;
- Workers should still continue to use other normal control measures that include personal protective equipment that is necessary to protect workers from other job hazards that are associated with construction activities;
- Always advise and remind workers to avoid physical contact with other workers. It is also imperative to direct employees, contractors, and visitors to increase personal space to a distance of at least six feet, wherever it is possible. In cases where work trailers are used, all workers should maintain social distancing at all times while they are inside the trailers; and
- Always promote personal hygiene. It is also better to provide alcohol-based hand rubs that contain at least 60 percent alcohol if the workers do not have any immediate access to soap and water for handwashing;
- Use Environmental Protection Agency-approved and cleaning chemicals from List N or those that have label claims against the coronavirus; and
- Encourage the workers to report if there are any safety and health concerns.
With OSHA leading the safety industry by providing COVID-19 protocols in its updates for this year, the construction industry, as an essential service, will be able to keep employees safe on the job. The construction protocols for this industry will help keep employees safe while at the same time getting businesses up and running again.
For any help in your construction project, Best Access Doors is OSHA-compliant and ready to provide you with your access door needs. Visit us at www.bestaccessdoors.com today.