Keeping Workers Safe as the COVID-19 Delta Variant Continues to Spread

Workplace safety guidelines from federal, state and local authorities are rapidly changing in response to the highly transmittable COVID-19 Delta variant, and employers should update their policies accordingly.

Significantly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors if they are in locations with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission rates. Employers may consider reinstituting mask requirements if they are in affected areas.

Employers should be prepared to respond to more requests to work from home and explore reasonable accommodations for workers who have disability-related concerns.

More Vaccine and Testing Directives
Employers also should stay up-to-date on changing mandates from state and local governments and recommendations from industry groups.

Employers in lower-risk areas may decide not to require vaccinated workers to wear face coverings, but they still should continue requiring unvaccinated workers to wear masks.

Many health care employers must follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which outlines safety requirements for settings where coronavirus patients are treated.