4 OSHA Training Requirements for COVID-19

We’ll start this article with two quick reminders: (1) in the middle of the current COVID-19 pandemic, things are changing quickly and (2) we wrote this article on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. So be sure to check OSHA’s website dedicated to COVID-19 frequently for updates.

On April 13, 2020, OSHA released a guidance called Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We recommend you read the whole thing and make yourself familiar with the OSHA COVID-19 Safety and Health Topic page in general.

In this article, we’ll list out the four requirements for safety training related to COVID-19 mentioned in the guidance. As always, since this is a novel virus, we’re still learning about it, and things are changing quickly, keep checking in with OSHA and other credible, reliable sources to stay up-to-date on these issues.

In addition to this article, you might also want to check out our much longer, more comprehensive article looking at a range of issues related to OSHA compliance, safety training, and COVID-19 or the recent discussion on similar issues we had on the ASSP podcast channel.

Here’s what the April 13 OSHA guidance says about safety training:

Training and Information: Provide training, education, and informational materials about the risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure associated with workers’ job tasks and activities.

a. If PPE will be used, explain why it is being used. Educate and train workers about the protective clothing and equipment appropriate to their current duties and the duties they may be asked to assume when others are absent.

b. Explain how to use basic hygiene (e.g., hand washing, covering mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing) and social distancing precautions that will be implemented and why they are effective.

c. Ensure materials are easily understood and available in the appropriate language and educational level for all workers.

d. Post signs asking workers, customers, and the general public to follow basic hygiene practices.

Points a, b, and d are especially interesting in relation to training and notifying people of the hazards related to COVID-19.

Keep informed during this pandemic to give everyone at your organization the best chance of coming out the other side safe, healthy, and alive!

Before you head off, you might want to check out articles on recent OSHA guidances re: COVID-19 and the construction workforce and COVID-19 and the manufacturing workforce.


Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. He's worked in training/learning & development for 25 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, has completed a General Industry Safety and Health Specialist Certificate from the University of Washington/Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center and an Instructional Design certification from the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training. Jeff frequently writes for magazines related to safety, safety training, and training and frequently speaks at conferences on the same issues, including the Washington Governor's Safety and Health Conference, the Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Conference, the Wisconsin Safety Conference, the MSHA Training Resources Applied to Mining (TRAM) Conference, and others.

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