ASSP supports new OSHA guidance on COVID-19

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the world’s oldest professional safety organization with nearly 40,000 members worldwide, supports today’s action by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to strengthen workplace guidance on COVID-19 to help keep workers safe from exposure. ASSP will also be part of a stakeholder briefing this afternoon about the new guidance.

The DOL announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus protection program and better identify risks that could lead to transmission. “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations while outlining existing occupational safety and health standards.

“It’s encouraging to see a heightened commitment to protecting workers across all industries,” said ASSP President Deborah Roy, M.P.H., RN, COHN-S, CSP, CIT, FASSP, FAAOHN. “It’s critical that we create environments in which businesses can operate safely during this challenging time. Stronger federal guidance brings us closer to the end of this devastating pandemic.”

More than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions of people remain out of work.

OSHA stressed that a coronavirus protection program is the most effective way for employers to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance includes essential elements such as conducting a hazard assessment, identifying control measures to limit the spread of the virus, adopting policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers for staying home, and implementing protections from retaliation for workers who raise concerns.

Throughout the pandemic, ASSP has encouraged physical distancing, face coverings, frequent hand washing and the proper use of personal protective equipment at work.

“ASSP continues to be committed to working with leaders in the public and private sectors to advance occupational safety and health during this global health crisis,” Roy said. “We must remain focused on protecting workers everywhere to ensure they return home safe to their families every day.”