CDC and OSHA issue COVID-19 guidance for agricultural employers
COVID-19Safety and Health
On June 2, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in conjunction with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), issued guidance for agriculture workers and employers to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 (coronavirus). The guidance isn’t mandatory, but is rather a roadmap that state and local health departments (or other agencies) may follow if they adopt COVID-19 rules for the agriculture industry. As we previously reported, California, Oregon, and Washington have already issued their own mandates, either in operations (i.e., worksites and transportation) or temporary worker housing, or both. See the previously reported requirements for:
- California: operations;
- Oregon: housing; and
- Washington: operations, housing, and, reported separately in today’s newsletter, more operations and housing requirements, the Governor’s proclamation enforcing the new requirements, and interpretive guidance on the new requirements.
Tips: If you’re in California, Oregon, or Washington, comply with your state’s rules and layer this federal guidance on top of those requirements at your discretion. In Arizona, Idaho, and Montana, which don’t have specific COVID-19-related rules for agriculture, it’s a good idea to follow the federal guidance as a best practice. You still have a general duty to maintain a safe and healthy workplace, including preventing diseases (such as COVID-19) from spreading among your workers. An OSHA investigator may look at this guidance to establish a baseline for whether you’ve taken reasonable steps to keep workers safe. Contact your Vigilant safety professional with any questions.