CDC and Department of Labor Offer Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Agriculture Workers & Employers

June 21, 2020

By: Jim Frankowiak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Labor have issued interim guidance for agriculture workers and employers in response to the COVID – 19 pandemic.

Key Points include:

  • Management in the agriculture industry should conduct work site assessment to identify coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) risks and infection prevention strategies to protect workers.
  • Work site guidance for COVID-19 prevention and control should be taken into consideration in employer-furnished shared worker housing, transportation vehicles and work settings.
  • Prevention practices should follow the hierarchy of controls, which includes using source control and a combination of engineering controls, administrative controls (especially proper sanitation, cleaning, and disinfection), and personal protective equipment.
  •  Grouping workers together into cohorts may reduce the spread of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace by minimizing the number of different individuals who come into close contact with each other over the course of a week, and may also reduce the number of workers quarantined because of exposure to the virus.
  • Owners/operators should maximize opportunities to place farmworkers residing together in the same vehicles for transportation and in the same cohorts to limit exposure.
  • Basic information and training about infection prevention should be provided to all farmworkers in languages they can understand.
  • Agriculture work sites developing plans for continuing operations where COVID-19 is spreading among workers or in the surrounding community should work directly with appropriate state and local public health officials and occupational safety and health professionals.

Visit the CDC website – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/commnity/guidance-agricultural -workers.html  – for added guidance information and updates.

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