On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new guidance related to COVID-19 for businesses outside the healthcare sector. According to the updated guidelines, workers who are fully vaccinated don’t need to take precautions, such as wearing a mask and social distancing, that are recommended for unvaccinated people. OSHA made recommendations that are intended to protect unvaccinated and at-risk workers.
OSHA’s New Guidelines to Keep Workers Safe
The updated guidance addresses questions related to unvaccinated employees and those who have been vaccinated, but who are still at risk because a medical condition or medication may cause them to have a less robust immune response. According to OSHA, employers should take steps to protect at-risk employees (including those who are fully vaccinated) the same way they would act to protect unvaccinated workers.
OSHA gave examples of some ways that businesses can protect both vaccinated and at-risk workers from COVID-19. These include giving employees time off to get vaccinated and having employees with COVID-19 or symptoms of the virus (regardless of their vaccination status), as well as unvaccinated workers who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, stay home from work.
OSHA also recommends that unvaccinated and at-risk employees follow social distancing guidelines in communal areas. It advises employers to limit the number of at-risk or unvaccinated workers who are in the same area at one time. In addition, OSHA recommends that businesses provide masks or other protective equipment for unvaccinated and at-risk employees.
The new guidance is not a mandate and does not impose any new legal requirements on businesses. Still, OSHA does require employers to maintain a safe and healthy workplace and to protect employees from hazards that could lead to serious physical harm or death.
Order Masks to Protect Your Unvaccinated and At-Risk Employees
Your business may have several workers who have not yet been vaccinated or who choose not to get a vaccine. You may also have employees who are at risk for COVID-19 infection due to a health condition, even if they have already been vaccinated. Your company has a duty to take proactive steps to keep those individuals safe.
One way to do that is to provide masks to workers who may be at risk. Unishield sells respirators that can protect employees from COVID-19 droplets so they can do their jobs safely. Protecting your workers can send a strong message that you value their health and can also help your company avoid downtime and lost profits that you could face if employees got sick and had to take time off. Order masks from SoCal First Aid today.