U.S. Department of Labor issues updated guidance on protecting unvaccinated and other at-risk workers from the coronavirus 

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health  Administration today issued updated guidance to help employers protect workers from the  coronavirus. The updated guidance reflects developments in science and data, including the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated COVID-19 guidance issued July 27. 

The updated guidance expands information on appropriate measures for protecting workers in  higher-risk workplaces with mixed-vaccination status workers, particularly for industries such as  manufacturing; meat, seafood and poultry processing; high volume retail and grocery; and  agricultural processing, where there is often prolonged close contact with other workers and/or  non-workers. 

OSHA’s latest guidance: 

  • Recommends that fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community  transmission wear masks in order to protect unvaccinated workers; 
  • Recommends that fully vaccinated workers who have close contacts with people with  coronavirus wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative coronavirus test at  least 3-5 days after such contact; 
  • Clarifies recommendations to protect unvaccinated workers and other at-risk workers in  manufacturing, meat and poultry processing, seafood processing and agricultural  processing; and  
  • Links to the latest guidance on K-12 schools and CDC statements on public transit. 

OSHA continues to emphasize that vaccination is the optimal step to protect workers and  encourages employers to engage with workers and their representatives to implement multi layered approaches to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers from the coronavirus. 

As part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to review the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency  Temporary Standard every 30-days, OSHA also said that the safeguards set forth by the standard  remain more important than ever. After reviewing the latest guidance, science and data, and  consulting with the CDC and partners, OSHA has determined the requirements of the healthcare  ETS remain necessary to address the grave danger of the coronavirus in healthcare. OSHA will  continue to monitor and assess the need for changes in the healthcare ETS each month. 

Our priority is the safety and health of workers, and we will continue to enforce the law to ensure  workers are protected from the virus while they are on the job, including through OSHA’s  National Emphasis Program on COVID.