On Friday August 13, OSHA updated its Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID–19 in the Workplace.
For fully vaccinated workers located in areas of substantial or high community transmission, OSHA’s guidance is to:
- Wear a mask in public indoor settings
- Wear a mask regardless of transmission, particularly if individuals have someone in their household who is at risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated
- Get tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID–19, follow CDC guidelines before returning to work and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure until a negative test result.
For unvaccinated or otherwise “at-risk” workers, OSHA:
- Emphasized that vaccination is the most effective way to protect against severe illness or death from COVID–19
- Encouraged employers to provide paid time off to workers for the time it takes for them to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects, usually no more than 48 hours
- Suggested that employers consider adopting policies that require workers who remain unvaccinated to get fully vaccinated or undergo regular COVID–19 testing, in addition to mask wearing and physical distancing
It should be noted that OSHA also adopted recommendations made by the CDC for K-12 schools to recommend universal indoor masking for teachers, staff, students and visitors to these schools, regardless of vaccination status, if their health allows.
The CDC reports that only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated become infected. When these infections occur among vaccinated persons, they tend to be mild. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who become infected with the Delta variant can become infectious and spread the virus to others, reinforcing the need for people to get fully vaccinated and follow the recommendation for people to wear masks when they cannot distance form others.
This article is compliments of FADA’s Associate Member Valent Group.