New OSHA Guidance on Protecting Worker Health
President Biden recently signed the Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety, which can be found here. This Executive Order emphasizes the Biden administration’s commitment to ensuring safe workplaces for employees in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden specifically states that as part of this commitment, he will issue additional guidance on how to reduce exposure, partner with state and local governments, enforce safety requirements, and push for additional resources to help protect employees. Most of this work will be conducted through the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA).
Following the issuance of this Executive Order, OSHA published additional guidance on January 29, 2021. This guidance echoed many safety measures that employers have been following for the past several months, including separating employees, implementing physical barriers when separation is not possible, and wearing appropriate PPE such as masks. OSHA reiterated that employers should educate its workers on the importance of staying home if they are, or are potentially, infected with COVID-19. Employers should continue to work with employees to facilitate flexible work options such as remote work, working in a less dense office area, or allowing employees to use paid leave, reminding employers that the tax credits for providing paid leave under FFCRA are extended through March 31, 2021.