New OSHA Requirements for Protecting Workers

Every year, thousands of American workers sustain severe injuries, fall sick, become disabled, or in worst cases, die due to work-related injuries. In 2019 alone, for instance, more than 5,300 workers succumbed to work-related injuries per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Common causes of workplace injuries and illnesses include slips and falls, explosions, being hit by objects, inhalation of poisonous fumes and exposure to harmful chemicals. However, COVID-19 is now the new workplace hazard from which employees need to protect themselves. To help curb its spread in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced new guidelines for protecting workers.

Here is a look at some of the new OSHA requirements for different categories of workers.

Construction Workers

According to the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA),about 60% of construction workers are either smokers or are above 60 years old and are therefore at a greater risk of COVID-19 infection and death. The new OSHA workplace safety guidelines require workers in this industry to:

  •  Avoid sharing tools
    •    Wear protective gloves when working in the same area
    •    Avoid crowding in lifts, elevators or trailers
    •    Wear face masks

Healthcare and Home Health

Healthcare workers have emerged as the frontline soldiers in the war against the pandemic. This means that any worker in the healthcare industry, especially those in direct contact with infected patients, should take safety measures seriously. This includes the home health caregivers who cater to COVID patients at home. To minimize the spread of the coronavirus from such patients, OSHA recommends taking the following measures:

  •  Isolate the patient
    •    Maintain proper sanitation
    •    Avoid sharing utensils and other items with the patient
    •    Limit all contact with the infected patient to one caregiver who isn’t vulnerable to the virus

Truckers and Transportation Workers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises truckers to adhere to the following OSHA standards to curb the spread of COVID-19:

  •  Use paperless invoicing for transactions
    •    Ventilate the trucks properly
    •    Use mobile phones and radios to communicate with colleagues and the management to minimize direct contact
    •    Pack enough necessities to avoid making unnecessary stops

Temporary Workers/Staffing Services

Considering their high frequency of changing workplaces, temporary workers are among the riskiest groups to contract and spread the novel coronavirus. Therefore, OSHA requires employers in the staffing industry to adhere to the following safety guidelines:

  •  Monitor their workers before and after shifts
    •    Avoid relying on fever checks only
    •    Avoid relying on self-reporting
    •    Ask infected workers to stay at home (self-isolate)
    •    Provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for their employees

Workers in Social Services

Social workers also face a high risk of contracting the virus since their work requires them to personally interact with other people. To protect these workers, OSHA requires employers to ensure that their employees:

  •  Wear a face mask
    •    Sanitize their hands regularly
    •    Practice safe social distancing
    •    Ensure employees who contract the virus self-isolate

Workers on or near Navigable Waters

With regards to this category of workers, OSHA’s new workplace safety requirements include:

  •  Maintaining a social distance of at least six feet
    •    Wearing protective equipment
    •    Regular hand sanitation
    •    Avoiding direct contact
    •    Self-isolation for infected workers

To help protect American workers, OSHA has announced the aforementioned workplace safety guidelines. For additional protection, ensure you purchase the right Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage. For more information and customized solutions contact us today at (781) 449-7744 or

By PMC Insurance Group

Since 1996, PMC Insurance Group has worked to help independent agents grow their client base by offering workers' compensation solutions for a wide array of businesses. As one of the most distinguished workers' compensation wholesalers in the country, we have the tools and resources to help you create coverage programs for both small businesses and large accounts.