On January 29, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance to employers on how to make the workplace safe from potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. You should know that the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) covers all private-sector employers with any employees, and unlike other workplace legislation, the OSH Act does not have a threshold minimum number of employees for coverage. 

The new guidance recommends that all employers maintain protocols the Center for Disease Control has established to minimize the spread of COVID-19, including wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks, physical distancing where possible, isolating employees with symptoms of COVID-19 or having had exposure to someone with COVID-19, promptly sending home employees who appear to be ill, and performing routine cleaning and disinfection. 

In addition to those established protocols regarding PPE, physical distancing, isolation and regular sanitation, the OSHA guidance identifies best practices for employers including:

  • Assigning a workplace coordinator who is responsible for carrying out COVID-19 prevention policies for the employer
  • Performing hazard assessments on how employees might contract COVID-19 at work
  • Eliminating the hazard not only through the above protocols, but also by installing barriers where physical distancing is not feasible and improving ventilation (which may require installation of virus eliminating air filters)
  • Providing supplies necessary for good hygiene
  • Considering additional protections for high-risk employees and enhanced disinfection in any work area where an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 has been present
  • Minimizing the negative impact of isolation, such as through telework
  • Providing employees with guidance on screening and testing
  • Recording and reporting work-related infections, related hospitalizations and deaths, and contacting health department officials in the event of an outbreak

Significantly, these guidelines do not exempt employees who have received a COVID-19 vaccination. For complete guidance, please go to the link at:


If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact one of our labor and employment law attorneys listed below:

Lori S. Patterson   |   904.346.5569   |   LSPatterson@rtlaw.com
Eric J. Holshouser   |   904.346.5788   |   EHolshouser@rtlaw.com
Samuel J. Horovitz   |   904.346.5774   |   SHorovitz@rtlaw.com
Robert G. Riegel, Jr.    |   904.473.1383   |   RRiegel@rtlaw.com
Michael J. Lufkin   |   904.346.5795   |   MLufkin@rtlaw.com
Kathryn K. Rudderman   |   904.346.5791   |   KRudderman@rtlaw.com