On August 13, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration issued updated guidance to help employers protect workers from COVID-19. This follows the Centers for Disease Control's own July 27 guidance updates.

In particular, the guidance addresses high risk environments in which there are likely to be both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers in contact with one another and the public. Industries of specific concern include manufacturing; meat, seafood and poultry processing; high-volume retail; grocery; and agricultural processing. Not surprisingly, OSHA states that vaccination is the optimal step in protecting the workforce.

Among other things, the current guidance recommends that fully vaccinated workers in areas of high community transmission wear masks in order to protect the unvaccinated, and, if they have had close contact with a COVID-positive person, wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative COVID test at least 3 – 5 days after such contact.

OSHA also advises it will continue to evaluate, and update as appropriate, its Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard every 30 days.

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