The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated guidance for COIVD-19 safety measures for higher-risk industries with workplaces that have mixed vaccination-status employees.

The revised guidance recommends:

  • Fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission continue wearing masks to protect unvaccinated people.
  • Fully vaccinated workers who have close contact with people with coronavirus wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative COVID-19 test at least three-five days after such contact.

The update also clarifies recommendations to protect unvaccinated workers and other at-risk workers in manufacturing and occupations that process agriculture, seafood, poultry and meat. It also now links to the latest guidance on K-12 schools and the Center for Disease Control statements on public transit.

The administration noted the updated guidance should be of particular interest for those operating in higher-risk sectors, such as those that require prolonged close contact with other employees as well as the general public. These industries include manufacturing; meat, seafood and poultry processing; high volume retail and grocery; and agriculture processing.

The update comes as part of OSHA’s commitment to review the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard every 30 days.

OSHA also recommends employers implement a multilayer intervention plan that includes:

  1. Facilitating employees getting vaccinated.
  2. Instructing any worker to stay home if they are infected or showing symptoms. If the employee is unvaccinated and had close contact with someone who had a positive test, they should also refrain from coming in.
  3. Putting physical distancing rules in place for communal work areas for unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers.
  4. Providing face coverings or surgical masks as appropriate.
  5. Educating and training the workforce on COVID-19 policies and procedures.
  6. Suggesting or requiring unvaccinated customers, visitors or guests wear face coverings in public-facing workplaces. Everyone should wear a mask in public, indoor settings located in areas of substantial or high transmission.
  7. Maintaining ventilation systems.
  8. Performing routine cleaning and disinfection.
  9. Recording and reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths.
  10. Setting up an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns as well as a program to prevent retaliation against an employee who files a complaint.

This article was written by Steve Hallo with NU Property Casualty 360. To read and learn more, visit: