According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been detected in 90 locations around the world, including the US.
While the scale of the coronavirus outbreak seems daunting, it’s important to remember that we’ve seen similar global pandemics over the past two decades, most notably SARS and swine flu. As with each previous global outbreak, calmness and preparation can help minimize the impact.
Small employers particularly should err on the side of caution. We consulted our community of employment law, HR, and small business experts, and they recommend taking action in three areas:
- Fulfill your legal requirements as a business.
- Take measures to help protect your community and workplace from the spread of the virus.
- Build trust with customers through good health practices and up-to-date communication.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not issued any new regulations related to COVID-19, several clauses remain relevant in this situation. Remember also to regularly check into OSHA’s COVID-19 page, as this is a rapidly changing situation.
Make sure your workplace is safe for employees.
Broadly, OSHA states that it is an employer’s responsibility to provide a workplace that is safe and free from known hazards. Usually, this comes up more in the context of exposure to occupational chemicals or bloodborne pathogens (especially for healthcare workers), but infectious diseases like the coronavirus pose risks to workers, too.