OSHA, the federal agency created to keep people safe at work, has developed rules to especially for the COVID-19 pandemic to protect healthcare workers. You can print out this leaflet and post at work, share it with your co-workers and keep it with you in case you are asked to do anything at work that does not feel safe.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970, Section 5, contains the following general rule for all workplaces:
“Each employer…shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees…”
Several OSHA standards and directives are directly applicable to protecting healthcare workers against transmission of infectious diseases:
“Employers are obligated to provide their workers with PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] needed to keep them safe while performing their jobs. The types of PPE required during a COVID-19 outbreak will be based on the risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 while working and job tasks that may lead to exposure.”1
OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030), which provides protection of workers from exposures to blood and body fluids that may contain bloodborne infectious agents
OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment standard (29 CFR 1910.132) and OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), which provide protection for workers when exposed to contact, droplet and airborne transmissible infectious agents
1. Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (OSHA 3990-03 2020), https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf