Search

Coronavirus: Preventing Workplace Exposure

Posted on 3/2/2020 by Roger Marks

Update
For updates and guidance related to coronavirus and workplace safety see the Coronavirus EHS News Hub

April 7, 2020 

OSHA issues the poster "Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus" in English and Spanish

April 6, 2020 
US DOT PHMSA releases a Notice of Enforcement Discretion regarding cylinders that have exceeded their periodic requalification test date. 

April 3, 2020 
US DOT PHMSA releases a temporary enforcement policy for companies now preparing much needed alcohol-based hand sanitizers under FDA guidance. Transport Canada releases a similar temporary certificate.   

April 2, 2020  
OSHA issues enforcement guidance regarding a supply shortage of N95 respirators for healthcare workers. 

March 26, 2020 

US EPA announces a temporary enforcement policy for routine monitoring and reporting violations that are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

March 12, 2020  
OSHA issues a new coronavirus alert and guidance for employers

March 10, 2020
US EPA shares a list of disinfectants for use against the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 


 

OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released guidance for employers regarding the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. As US cases begin to make headlines, employers should take steps to prevent rapid transmission of the coronavirus.

What is Coronavirus (COVID—19)?

Novel coronavirus or COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms appear 2—14 days after exposure.

According to CDC, the virus spreads from person to person via respiratory droplets produced by coughing and sneezing. CDC believes that people are most contagious at times when they display symptoms. It may also be possible to spread the virus before you show any symptoms. 

Basic Best Practices for All Workers

OSHA’s COVID-19 guidance includes a list of practices to prevent disease transmission.

Suggested practices for all workers, regardless of exposure risk, are:
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Preventing Workplace Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Healthcare workers are at the highest risk for exposure to coronavirus. As such, CDC created coronavirus resource web pages for health care facilities and information for healthcare professionals.

For healthcare workers, personal protective equipment (PPE) like proper gloves, gowns, eye and face protection, and respirators play a critical role in preventing disease transmission. While proper PPE training, selection, and use are crucial, PPE is the last line of defense against any workplace hazard.

Healthcare facilities should use engineering controls such as use of airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIR), physical barriers like glass or plastic windows, and ventilation systems with a clean-to-contaminated flow direction. For a list of recommended engineering and administrative controls to prevent the spread of coronavirus, health care professionals can view CDC presentation slides here.

OSHA stresses the need for employers to provide relevant safety training to employees with reasonably anticipated exposure to COVID-19.  

OSHA safety standards and training relevant to the spread of coronavirus include:
  • Personal Protective Equipment or PPE (29 CFR, Subpart I)
  • Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)
  • Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030)
  • OSHA’s General Duty Clause (OSH Act of 1970, Section 5(a)(1))

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention for Non-healthcare Employers

For non-healthcare employers, CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers lays out some basic steps that employers can take to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
CDC provides further detail for each bullet point listed below:
  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Separate sick employees
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene for all employees
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Advise employees to take certain steps before traveling
CDC also provides guidance about what to do if it becomes clear that the virus is spreading quickly inside of the US. This includes recommendations for creating and implementing an infectious disease outbreak Response Plan. 

Sources:
OSHA Guidance
CDC Guidance
WHO Guidance
 

OSHA Safety Training Available Immediately

Lion’s expanded OSHA safety training course catalog now includes training that may be useful for healthcare personnel and others at risk of exposure to coronavirus. Browse all OSHA safety courses at Lion.com/OSHA.

Note: The web pages linked above are specific to businesses and employers. Individuals concerned about coronavirus should check other pages on those websites for guidance.

Note: It seems that the CDC may have moved or revised some of its resources related to COVID-19 preparedness. All links below are functional at publication time. If any links do not work, please reach out to us at info@Lion.com and we will fix them or provide an alternate resource as quickly as we can. 
 

Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, health and safety, novel coronavirus, osha

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

My experience with Lion training, both online and in the classroom, is that they are far better organized and provide a better sequential explanation of the material.

Robert Roose

Manager, Dangerous Goods Transportation

More thorough than a class I attended last year through another company.

Troy Yonkers

HSES Representative

Lion's information is very thorough and accurate. Presenter was very good.

Melissa Little

Regulatory Manager

The course is well thought out and organized in a way that leads to a clearer understanding of the total training.

David Baily

Hazmat Shipping Professional

The online course was well thought out and organized, with good interaction between the student and the course.

Larry Ybarra

Material Release Agent

Best course instructor I've ever had. Funny, relatable, engaging; made it interesting and challenged us as the professionals we are.

Amanda Schwartz

Environmental Coordinator

Amazing instructor; real-life examples. Lion training gets better every year!

Frank Papandrea

Environmental Manager

I have over 26 years of environmental compliance experience, and it has been some time since I have attended an environmental regulations workshop. I attended this course as preparation for EHS Audits for my six plants, and it was exactly what I was looking for.

Frank Sizemore

Director of Regulatory Affairs

The instructor had knowledge of regulations and understanding of real-world situations. The presentation style was engaging and fostered a positive atmosphere for information sharing.

Linda Arlen

Safety & Environmental Compliance Officer

The training was impressive. I am not a fan of online training but this was put together very well. I would recommend Lion to others.

Donnie James

Quality Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

What to do before, during, and after a RCRA hazardous waste inspection to defend your site from rising State and Federal penalties.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.