Assembly Line Workers and Workplace Distancing
As workplaces reopen, OSHA has offered some tips for workplace social distancing. The video below shows ways manufacturing and assembly lines can reposition workers to maintain safer distances while on the job.
When planning for reopening, identify the type of risk exposure a worker will reasonably encounter on the job. Take mitigation steps to reduce the hazards.
- Whenever possible, eliminate, substitute, engineer or isolate the hazard.
- Take a look at the way people are doing their job (also known as “administrative” control). Is there a way to change work processes to reduce hazards? If so, change the work process so workers can remain safer. (The OSHA video above is an example of an administrative control.)
- Provide personal protection equipment (PPE) as a line of defense. Providing employees with face masks is a form of PPE.
- Involve workers in the hazard mitigation control process. They may have a unique perspective of how work is really done and ways it can be improved. Encourage open discussion that is free from retaliation.
- Train employees on the plan.
- Finally, it is critical to follow up. Make sure that controls are in place and working as planned. Safety isn’t done after training, and sometimes retraining is necessary.
Contact us about online safety training options. Our online training system tracks individual employee completion records, provides proof of comprehension in the form of short quizzes, and can be done anywhere. We also manage the system for you.
General Guidelines for Workplace Safety – OSHA
Each employer is responsible for the health and safety of their workers in the workplace. Basic guidelines dictate that “employers must:
- Prominently display the free, official Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law poster that describes rights and responsibilities under the law.
- Inform workers about chemical hazards through training, labels, alarms, color-coded systems, chemical information sheets, and other methods.
- Provide safety training to workers in a language and vocabulary they can understand.
- Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling, required by some OSHA standards.
- Provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
- Provide hearing exams or other medical tests required by OSHA standards.
- Post OSHA citations and injury and illness data where workers can see them.
- Notify OSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality or within 24 hours of any work-related inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye (1-800-321-OSHA ).
- Not retaliate against workers for exercising their rights under the law, including their right to report a work-related injury or illness.”
The same basic guidelines for workplace safety also apply to mitigation and hazard reduction techniques regarding coronavirus transmission within the workplace (English / Español). OSHA has prepared a booklet for employers called, “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19“.
General Duty Clause
Under the General Duty Clause, employers are required to provide a safe workplace free from recognized hazards.
“Sec. 5 Duties
(a) Each employer —
(1) 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;
(2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.
(b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.”
For more information, visit employer.gov.