U.S. Department of Labor issues alert to keep nursing home and long-term care facility workers safe during coronavirus pandemic

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Washington – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect nursing home and long-term care facility workers from exposure to the coronavirus.

Safety measures employers can implement to protect workers in the nursing home and long-term care industry include:

• Screen workers and residents regularly for signs and symptoms consistent with the coronavirus. Send sick workers home or to seek medical care.

• Closely monitor and take additional precautions regarding employees and residents who may have been exposed to an individual with the coronavirus.

• Ask visitors to inform the facility if they develop a fever or symptoms consistent with the coronavirus within 14 days of their visit.

• Maintain at least six feet between workers, residents, and visitors to the extent possible, including while workers perform their duties and during breaks.

• Stagger break periods to avoid crowding in breakrooms.

• Consider alternatives to in-person large group gatherings (e.g., staff meetings, resident activities).

• Continually monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks, burn rate, and supply chains. Develop a process to decontaminate and reuse PPE, such as face shields and goggles, as appropriate. Follow CDC recommendations for optimization of  PPE supplies.

• Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

Visit OSHA’s Publications webpage for other useful workplace safety information.

OSHA has also published Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, a document aimed at helping workers and employers learn about ways to protect themselves and their workplaces during the ongoing pandemic.

Visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage frequently for updates. For further information about coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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