Worker Safety and Health Remains U.S. Department of Labor Priority
"As more workplaces begin to reopen, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers that worker safety remains a priority amid both coronavirus and common workplace hazards.
In all phases of reopening, employers need to plan for potential hazards related to the coronavirus, as well as those stemming from routine workplace processes. Employers should be aware that the pandemic might increase employee stress, fatigue and distractions and should consider these factors in planning their employees’ return to work to ensure operations resume in a safe and healthful manner. Employers should also carefully plan before attempting to increase production or tasks to make up for downtime to avoid exposing employees to additional safety and health hazards.
As part of their reopening plans, OSHA recommends employers provide workers with “refreshers” on safety and health training and address maintenance issues they may have deferred during a shutdown. Employers should also revisit and update standard operating procedures and remember that exposures to hazards may increase during shutdown and start-up periods. It is important for employers to review and address process safety issues – including stagnant or expired chemicals – as part of their reopening effort. Employers also should remember that Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. 660(c), prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for raising concerns about safety and health conditions..."