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Editor's Note: Employers should train workers on coronavirus-related health and safety procedures before allowing them to return to their worksite. While federal law doesn't require most employers to provide training, many states make training mandatory and other states encourage it. Even when it isn't required by law, training can help stop the spread of the virus in the workplace and keep workers safe.
Employers can use this checklist to assess their Covid-19 training but should carefully consider federal, state, and local requirements, their business needs, and the needs of their workers. Employers in certain industries may be required to provide additional training under federal or state law. To review state-specific laws and regulations on workplace pandemic requirements, see State L&E Developments.
In order to help workers protect themselves and their coworkers from infection, employers should ensure that workers understand basic information about the virus.
Training should educate employees about:
• How coronavirus is spread;
• The risks associated with contracting the virus;
• The population groups that are at higher risk of complications if they become infected with Covid-19;
• How to reduce the risk of transmission through physical distancing, proper hygiene, and correct use of face coverings;
• How to identify and assess potential symptoms of a Covid-19 infection; and
• What activities are low, medium, and high risk for contracting the virus.
Employers should explain any new policies and procedures that workers should expect as they return to their worksite.
Training should explain:
• Any steps workers are expected to take before coming to the worksite, such as self-screening or temperature checks (See Overview - Temperature Checks and Health Screening);
• Any new or modified procedures for entering the worksite, including temperature screening procedures, if applicable;
• Employer policies and benefits for workers who are exposed to or become infected with Covid-19;
• How and when to use cloth face coverings or personal protective equipment and describe any penalties for noncompliance;
• Handwashing guidelines and the locations of handwashing and hand sanitizing stations;
• The availability of common spaces and any rules associated with the use of common space;
• Employer policies on physical distancing, along with specific examples of how distancing will be implemented in the workplace; and
• How to interact with customers, vendors, and other nonemployees.
Training should inform workers about the rights and responsibilities as they return to their worksite. (See Sample Policy - Covid-19 Policy for On-Site Workers (Annotated))
Trainings should inform workers:
• That they will not be subject to discrimination if they become infected with Covid-19;
• About any leave that they may be entitled to if they are required to quarantine or if they become infected with Covid-19;
• About any accommodations that may be available to workers who are at higher risk for complications, or who live with a person who is at higher risk for complication;
• About any available childcare accommodations;
• How they can report symptoms, exposure, or infection; and
• That their infection status will be kept confidential in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• Training should occur before workers to return to their worksite and should be refreshed frequently.
• Employers should monitor federal, state, and local requirements and guidance and update trainings accordingly.
• When possible, trainings should be provided during working hours and at no cost to employees.