OSHA and CDC Issue Guidance for Agricultural Workers during COVID-19

Source: oticki - 123RF

According to the CDC, agriculture work sites, shared worker housing, and shared worker transportation vehicles present unique challenges for preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19.

Consistent application of specific preparation, prevention, and management measures can help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

OSHA has issued guidance that includes recommended actions to protect agriculture workers from exposure to the coronavirus.

Applying specific disease management and prevention measures can help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus among workers on farms, ranches, and other production worksites.

The guidance recommends that owners and operators:

  • Screen agricultural workers for coronavirus symptoms, manage workers who have symptoms upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day, and address return to work after worker exposure;
  • Use touch-free clocks and automatic doors, install plastic barriers when distances of six feet between individuals are not possible, and rearrange chairs and tables in break areas;
  • Implement cleaning, disinfection, and sanitation protocols;
  • Train workers in a language they understand on the signs and symptoms of coronavirus, proper infection control and social distancing practices, and what to do if they or a coworker experience symptoms;
  • Encourage workers to use cloth face coverings in certain circumstances (e.g., when utilizing shared methods of transportation); and
  • Provide and train workers on proper use of personal protective equipment through videos or in-person visual demonstrations.

The guidance also explains what employers should do to prevent transmission of the virus among workers who share housing and transportation to and from the agricultural worksite.