Moments ago, in following with President Biden’s January 21, 2021 “Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety”, OSHA released new/updated guidance on “Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace”. While the new guidance is really just a retelling of what is already expected from previous OSHA COVID-19 guidance, it does contain more detail about how employers and employees should respond to COVID-19. The new guidance, as with previous OSHA guidance, is NOT required. However, this new guidance language could be part of a new COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that OSHA could implement by mid-March, which would also be in line with Biden’s Executive Order.

Immediately before the guidance’s release, SEO staff participated in a conference call with OSHA leadership to discuss the guidance and a potential ETS. OSHA explicitly noted that they will be relying on this new guidance when addressing COVID-19 concerns in the workplace. As well, while they did not say whether an ETS was imminent, they have confirmed that the internal discussions have commenced, and will begin stakeholder outreach and involvement very soon.

Specifically, today’s guidance recommends “essential elements in a prevention program”:

·         Conduct a hazard assessment.

·         Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.

·         Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.

·         Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.

·         Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.

DOL OSHA COVID-19 Guidance News Release:

New OSHA COVID-19 Guidance:

NRMCA will continue to engage with OSHA on their COVID-19 actions and advocate for beneficial ready mixed concrete industry outcomes.