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OSHA Issues Updated COVID-19 Guidance for the Workplace

 Posted on August 17,2021 in Workers' Compensation

Gilroy workers' compensation attorneyOn Friday, August 13, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued updated guidance for employers in order to help protect workers from COVID-19. The updated guidance was issued due to recent developments with the virus, as well as the latest information and guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July.

Updated Guidance and the Delta Variant

During the first six months of this year, as the COVID-19 vaccines became available to more people, the number of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims in California began to decrease. In June, the number of claims hit a 16-month low with just over 670 claims filed. However, in July, the number of claims spiked again, with more than 2,500 COVID-19 claims filed. This was almost equal to the total amount of claims filed in the state during the prior three months. It is estimated that when all valid claims for July are finally processed and approved, the total number will be closer to 4,000 claims for the month.

The spike in COVID-19 cases here in California and around the country is being attributed to the Delta variant, which is now the predominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S. The CDC has stated that this variant is more infectious and more transmissible than other variants, even for people who are fully vaccinated, which is why they issued updated guidance for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

OSHA has also expanded its guidelines due to the Delta variant and continued increases in new COVID-19 cases each day. These measures should be taken by all employers to protect workers in industries that are considered high-risk and that have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated employees. These industries include agricultural processing, high-volume grocery and retail establishments, and meat, poultry, and seafood processing plants.

Per OSHA, all employers should ensure that:

  • Fully vaccinated employees who work in areas where there is a high risk of community transmission wear masks to protect those employees who are unvaccinated.

  • Fully vaccinated employees who have come into close contact with people who have COVID-19 wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have tested negative at least three to five days after that contact.

  • All teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools wear masks regardless of vaccine status.

The updated OSHA guidance also adopts a number of recommended guidance updates issued by the CDC for those in the high-risk industries listed above.

Contact a Santa Clara County Workers’ Compensation Attorney

There is a strong likelihood that as the COVID-19 numbers continue to surge over the next few months as anticipated, OSHA will continue to issue updated and/or revised recommendations to ensure the safety of employees during this time.

If you have contracted COVID-19 and believe your exposure was work-related, you could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under California’s Workers’ Compensation Presumption law. Call Cramer + Martinez at 408-848-1113 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Morgan Hill workers’ compensation lawyer. Let us help you get the benefits you deserve.



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