The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance advises employers to “educate and train workers” on COVID-19 safe work practices.
Additionally, California’s Permanent Standard took effect on January 1, 2023 and requires California employers to continue to provide effective Covid-19 training to all employees through December 31, 2024. (Read Clear Law’s article on the California Covid-19 Permanent Standard.)
Clear Law Institute’s interactive online training, COVID-19 Safe Workplace, helps employers comply with federal and state training guidelines and promotes a safe and healthy workplace.
Given the health risks of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, employers must go beyond “check-the-box” training. Employers must provide a course that not only complies with legal requirements but also provide employees with the practical guidance needed to maintain a safe working environment. Clear Law’s COVID-19 Safe Workplace online training is fully narrated and includes numerous interactive animations, video demonstrations, and exercises to keep employees engaged.
Because of the changing nature of the virus risk and guidance from the CDC, OSHA, and other agencies, the course is continually updated. Employees can retake the training if COVID-19 training requirements change for no additional cost.
As required by federal guidelines and state regulations, the course addresses topics such as:
The course is continually updated as CDC and state regulations continue to change. For example, the 2023 version removed references to state requirements that have been rescinded.
Employees should receive COVID-19 training before or very shortly after they return to in-person work. All new hires for in-person work should also receive training. Although some state training mandates are silent on this issue, the clear objective is to educate workers on how to protect themselves and to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Employees who lack knowledge about COVID-19 safe work practices can endanger themselves and others in the workplace.
COVID-19 employee training should cover the safe work practices required by law or workplace policy, including masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, health monitoring, cleaning and disinfection, and any other state-mandated safety topics. Now that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, promoting the benefits and safety of vaccination is also an important training element.
Employee mask use will not effectively limit virus spread in the workplace if they do not wear a mask correctly. For optimal protection, an employee’s mask should fully cover the mouth and nose. Mask fit is equally important. An employee who wears a mask with large gaps on the sides of the face puts other people at risk. According to the CDC, a mask should fit snugly under the chin and against the sides of the face so virus particles do not escape. Employees, customers, and clients will feel protected and safe in the work environment when employees consistently wear face masks properly.
Because the landscape of COVID-19 vaccination varies, the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees is often blurred. Despite recently updated CDC guidance for vaccinated individuals, many employers continue to require employee mask use even when state or local law does not. Employee training that can be customized to include policies specific to your workplace can help employees clearly understand the safety practices they must follow. Incorporating your workplace policies into employee safety training gives employees clear-cut directions on what is required in your workplace.