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Take Steps to Avoid Coronavirus, OSHA Warns featured image

Take Steps to Avoid Coronavirus, OSHA Warns

While many employers are ramping up their workforce, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns them not to overlook workers’ rights to a safe and healthy workplace.

The Department of Labor also reminds employers to pay their workers fair and legally earned wages during the holidays.

With more places opening back up for in-person shopping and dining and more construction projects in the works, employers must take steps to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19. But, even when the numbers wane, it does not mean the virus is not still thriving.

Take care to properly train workers, especially new and seasonal workers, to recognize and prevent workplace hazards. OSHA offers guidance on holiday workplace safety for retail workers, warehousing and delivery. Resources are also available for environments with high-customer volume, at loading docks, in stockrooms and for package delivery.

“The holiday season is typically a hectic time for businesses, and just as consumer demands increase, so must an employer’s awareness of keeping their employees safe,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Safety and Health Doug Parker. “All workers – from those starting their first job to those making some extra money as a seasonal worker to those year-round

employees – are entitled to a workplace free from hazards and to be trained in a language they understand to recognize and prevent hazards.”

Coronavirus Safety Measures

  • The number one safety measure for stopping the spread of COVID-19 is to get the vaccination. Do this as soon as possible.
  • Wear a mask. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone under the age of two should wear a mask in indoor spaces. Also, wear a mask outdoors if you are in an area with a high number of COVID-19 cases or in a crowded setting. In addition, wearing a mask over your nose and mouth continues to be required on airplanes, buses, trains and other forms of transit.
  • Stay six feet from others to avoid potential contact with an infected individual.
  • Wash hands often and make sure to have handwashing stations set up on worksites.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. If you cough in your mask, change masks and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, including doorknobs, desks, light switches and phones.
  • Monitor your health and the health of your employees daily.

Employers are also encouraged to familiarize themselves with federal wage rules for seasonal employees to pay temporary and seasonal workers everything they have earned according to the law.

According to the Wage and Hour Division, the most common violations are not paying cashiers and salespeople for prep time, closing out registers, requiring warehouse and stock personnel to work through breaks without pay, and failing to pay overtime when required.

The Wage and Hours administration will investigate any reported holiday violations of these rules and regulations.

“This holiday season, and all year round, workers deserve dignity and respect from their employers,” said Acting Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman. “Employers should ensure their payroll practices comply with all minimum wage, overtime and child labor requirements, so those who depend on their wages to care for themselves and their families can benefit from their hard work.”

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.