The United States nationally is in the initiation phase of the pandemic. States in which community spread is occurring are in the acceleration phase. The duration and severity of each pandemic phase can vary depending on the characteristics of the virus and the public health response. According to the CDC, certain people, including older adults and those with underlying conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
While work for most of stopped, many essential businesses remained opened, putting their lives at risk in contracting the COVID-19. However, worker risk of occupational exposure to COVID-19 during a pandemic may depend in part on the industry type and the need for contact within 6 feet of people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with the virus. It is important to prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace and use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19 infection; in addition, be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.
For now, employers should develop preparedness plans and communicate those plans to protect workers through effective training. In addition, employers should assess worker exposure to hazards and risks and implement infection prevention measures to reasonably address them consistent with OSHA Standards. Our course offers general information about protecting yourself, and others from COVID-19 in the workplace and at home.