On June 18, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released guidance to help employers plan how to reopen nonessential businesses. The guidance also addresses issues employers should consider as they ask their employees return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OSHA’s guidelines for reopening nonessential businesses provide general principles for updating restrictions that were originally put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
OSHA’s publication includes charts, examples and illustrations of how safety principles can be implemented for reopening. Specifically, this new guidance covers:
- How to plan a reopening
- OSHA standards and required protections in the workplace
- Available OSHA assistance programs
- Answers to employer frequently asked questions.
OSHA has stated that this new guidance is meant to supplement the White House's Guidelines for Opening Up America Again and the Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 developed by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services. A as a result, businesses should follow local timelines and phased reopening plans as they implement OSHA’s guidance.
Employers should also continue to monitor federal, state and local updates about community disinfection, best practices and transmission mitigation measures. For example, employers can visit OSHA's coronavirus webpage and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for updates.