973-597-0750 [email protected]

OSHA’s Guidance As Non-Essential Businesses Reopen and Employees Return to Work

On Thursday, June 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance to assist employers reopening non-essential businesses and their employees returning to work during the evolving coronavirus pandemic. Click here to read the press release.

The guidance supplements the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ previously developed Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and the White House’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The guidelines provide general principles for updating restrictions originally put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. During each phase of the reopening process, employers should continue to focus on strategies for basic hygiene, social distancing, identification and isolation of sick employees, workplace controls and flexibilities, and employee training.

Non-essential businesses should reopen as state and local governments lift stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders and follow public health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal requirements or guidelines. Employers should continue to consider ways to use workplace flexibilities, such as remote work and alternative business operations, to provide goods and services to customers.

Indoor Environment Plays Role in Virus Transmission

Recently, the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration (ACHR) News published an article titled, “Indoor Environment Plays Role in Virus Transmission” where they cite researchers from two universities reporting that high temperature and humidity levels may reduce the transmission of COVID-19.  To read the full article go to ACHRNews.

AIHA: Recovering from Building COVID Closures

AIHA has provided a guidance document for when buildings reopen from COVID-19 closures. If a building was not properly cleaned for COVID-19 or maintained during the shutdown, opening the building can pose a health hazard to their occupants. These health hazards can be:

  • Mold growth can occur if temperature and humidity levels are not maintained.
  • Legionella is a concern if water systems in buildings are idle.
  • Ensuring COVID-19 is not present prior to reoccupancy by cleaning and disinfecting interior occupied spaces, furnishings, and mechanical per the CDC guidelines.

PHASE Associates can help with the above. We are an AIHA listed consultant with Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs) that have the expertise to review the following:

  • Toxicity and efficacy of disinfectant chemicals
  • Identify safe remediation practices
  • Assess the risk of COVID-19
  • Develop management plans to control other building-related hazards such as Legionella and mold.

Please contact Gary Schwartz at [email protected] to find out how we can help you manage building maintenance during the COVID-19 shutdown and how we can help to reopen buildings.