Keeping the Package Delivery Workforce Safe – New Guidance From OSHA

Orrick - Global Employment Law Group

As COVID-19 has forced more Americans than ever to stay home, the package delivery workforce has been active in delivering food and other essential items to people’s doorsteps. These package delivery drivers may have increased levels of risk of exposure to COVID-19 because the tasks they perform can bring them into close contact with the general public.

In recognition of this potential risk, OSHA recently released guidance to help keep the package delivery workforce safe.  This guidance covers recommended truck sanitization practices, face coverings and social distancing measures. OSHA guidance (as opposed to OSHA standards or regulations) are recommendations for voluntary compliance with general workplace safety and training initiatives. We have previously covered ways to minimize OSHA COVID-19 liability here.

Per the guidance, OSHA is now recommending that package delivery industry take the following safety precautions:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Establish flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts) where feasible.
  • Practice sensible social distancing and maintain six feet between co-workers where possible.
  • Minimize interaction between drivers and customers by leaving deliveries at loading docks, doorsteps, or other locations that do not require person-to-person exposures.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Promote personal hygiene. If workers do not have access to soap and water for handwashing, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Provide tissues, as well as disinfectants and disposable towels workers can use to clean work surfaces, including vehicle interiors.
  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus.
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ tools and equipment.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

OSHA also encourages employers to follow CDC guidance as well as their own state and local laws, which may mandate additional and more stringent health and safety protocols and are being updated regularly.

As the country reopens, it is important that employers stay abreast of federal, state and local guidance on keeping their workplace safe. This is especially true for the package delivery workforce.

We are continuing to monitor the myriad developments related to workplace safety.  Please stay tuned for updates.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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