This is the third in our series of insights into OSHA’s new guidance, published on January 29, 2021. Yesterday we discussed the importance of explaining your COVID-19 prevention policy to your employees.

Here’s the third thing to know:  What should you do when your employee is COVID-19 positive or has been exposed?

Act now to put a plan in place. To be sure, the plan needs to facilitate immediate action. Not two hours later; we’re talking ASAP to the maximum degree possible. So what are the steps? And how best to prepare as a ridiculously busy employer?

Your plan should include:

  • Instruct those who’ve tested positive, have been directly exposed, or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home;
  • If he comes to work, immediately direct him to go home and isolate or quarantine, depending on the circumstances;
  • By encouraging employees to stay home, employers can greatly reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the workplace;
  • In Erie County, alert the County Health Department;
  • Take appropriate steps to clean affected areas (look at OSHA’s bullet 10 here).

Practically speaking, the downside of requiring employees to stay home is that your business might not be fully staffed. If possible, allow your employees to work from home or, if it’s possible to ensure safety (and it’s not always possible) allow them to work in an area where they’re isolated from all other employees.

We’re breaking down the recent OSHA guidance in this series. Stay tuned for another OSHA tip on Monday!