Guidance for NFSA Members: Job Conditions Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic
NFSA continues to monitor surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and are working to bring you the information that we’ve found and present it in an understandable and easy to follow format. We are receiving various inquiries regarding employer responsibilities to provide safe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many federal, state, and local requirements, many of which have been changing from day to day. Therefore, it is impossible to provide complete, “one-size-fits-all” advice applicable to every job in every locality.
However, there are several sources which are applicable to all employers. These sources include the following four sources, briefed and/or linked below: the OSHA Safety standard for Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”), the OSHA General Duty Clause, the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) Guidance, and OSHA’s Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 handbook. For the convenience of NFSA members, we have excerpted key provisions from the first three sources below. However, we urge all members to review all the material in the links below to assure your complete familiarity.
NFSA strongly advises all members to remain in full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, standards, and guidelines. This includes but is not limited to assuring social distancing (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) at all times, providing all required PPE as defined by OSHA, and assuring a workplace in compliance with OSHA’s General Duty Clause. In addition, members should be aware of and in compliance with all applicable state and local requirements. We realize that these are unprecedented times, and that daily work has been interrupted in many cases. Hopefully, these resources will provide information that will assist you and your company as you work your way through the respective processes. Please know that NFSA is here to help if we can, and we remain vigilant in monitoring the latest information and sharing it with you.
For individual company questions related to specific job requirements, employers should consult with their attorneys, human resources professionals, and other applicable experts.
OSHA Safety Standard for PPE
Application. Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.
OSHA General Duty Clause – OSHA Act of 1970, Sec. 5
SEC. 5. Duties
(a) Each employer —
(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
(2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.
(b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.
Centers for Disease Control
“Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”