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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Friday issued workplace safety guidance for employers that includes a recommendation that they cover COVID-19 vaccination costs.
OSHA issued the new guidelines following an executive order by President Joe Biden on Jan. 21 to do so.
The new guidelines, which in general mirror existing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, call for face coverings, social distancing and contact-tracing. They also call for employers to implement COVID-19 prevention programs, separate and send home sick workers, improve safety communication with workers, install barriers, provide personal protective equipment, and routinely clean and disinfect.
The guidelines also call for employers to consider protections and “reasonable accommodations” for workers at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, naming “older adults” and workers with “underlying health conditions” as among those who may need modifications.
OSHA is also calling on employers to cover employee vaccinations for COVID-19 and to not distinguish between workers who are vaccinated and those who are not.
Prior to the new guidelines OSHA had urged employers to follow CDC guidelines.
President Biden also gave OSHA until March 15 to decide whether to create a temporary standard for COVID-19 safety.
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday appointed Jim Frederick, a former health and safety expert in the steel industry, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Commission.