OSHA offers tips to limit COVID-19 exposure among ag workers in employer-provided vehicles
Washington — New guidance from OSHA is intended to help agricultural employers reduce the spread of COVID-19 among workers who are transported to and from worksites in vehicles provided by employers.
The agency cautions that “time spent with others in passenger vehicles may increase the risk of exposure” to SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Among OSHA’s tips for employers:
- Screen passengers for symptoms of COVID-19 before boarding, and instruct passengers to sit as far apart as possible. Don’t seat more than two people in a row unless they come from the same household or group.
- Use multiple vehicles or take multiple trips to limit the number of passengers and promote physical distancing.
- Ensure drivers and passengers wear a face covering.
- Open windows when more than one passenger is aboard and weather permits. Use a high setting for the heating and cooling fan, and don’t use the recirculation setting.
- Install customized clear barriers between the driver and passengers.
- Instruct drivers and passengers to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before boarding and after exiting the vehicle. Encourage passengers to board and enter in one direction.
- Advise those in the vehicle to refrain from touching commonly used surfaces and handing objects to others.
In an essay posted on the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ website, Jaime Vos, safety materials program director at AEM, notes that the safety message for agricultural employers and workers continues to evolve in step with the pandemic.
“Even though PPE is now a term known by everyone on the planet, there is a danger in complacency,” Vos writes. “The importance of safety must remain at the forefront. Employers and employees alike must do their part to watch out for one another and do everything they can to make the worksite as hazard-free as possible.”