Jun 3, 2020OSHA, CDC issue guidance to help ag workers during pandemic
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on June 2 issued guidance that includes recommended actions to protect agriculture workers from exposure to the coronavirus.
According to a news release, prevention and control of coronavirus at agricultural worksites, and in shared worker housing and shared transport vehicles, can present unique challenges. Applying specific disease management and prevention measures can help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus among workers on farms, ranches, and other production worksites.
The guidance recommends that owners and operators:
- Screen agricultural workers for coronavirus symptoms, manage workers who have symptoms upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day, and address return to work after worker exposure;
- Use touch-free clocks and automatic doors, install plastic barriers when distances of six feet between individuals are not possible, and rearrange chairs and tables in break areas;
- Implement cleaning, disinfection, and sanitation protocols;
- Train workers in a language they understand on the signs and symptoms of coronavirus, proper infection control and social distancing practices, and what to do if they or a coworker experience symptoms;
- Encourage workers to use cloth face coverings in certain circumstances (e.g., when utilizing shared methods of transportation); and
- Provide and train workers on proper use of personal protective equipment through videos or in-person visual demonstrations.
The guidance also explains what employers should do to prevent transmission of the virus among workers who share housing and transportation to and from the agricultural worksite.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov. The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.