CDC, Department of Labor release COVID-19 guidance for ag workers
On June 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Labor jointly released interim guidance for agriculture workers and employers. This guidance provides a template of action to protect agriculture workers from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Agricultural employers can adapt these recommendations to protect workers at their particular work sites or in specific work operations.
Management in agriculture should conduct work site assessments to identify 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, or small groups, 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. For example, 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.
The guidance covers the following topics: Exposure risks among agricultural workers and employers; how to create COVID-19 assessment and control plans; screening and monitoring workers; managing sick workers; addressing return to work after worker exposure; engineering controls; cleaning, disinfection and sanitation; administrative controls; personal protective equipment (PPE); special considerations for shared housing and transportation; special considerations for children and other topics.
To access the complete guidance, visit www.gfb.ag/cdccovid19guidance.