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English Español PEI: COVID-19 recordable illness and worker safety

The Petroleum Equipment Institute releases safety recommendations. Experts predict COVID-19 will affect workplaces similarly to influenza. Under conditions associated with extensive person-to-person spread, multiple U.S. regions will experience simultaneous impacts.



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COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker becomes infected as a result of workrelated duties. Covered employers must record certain work-related injuries and illnesses on their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 300 logs, according to recordkeeping requirements at 29 CFR Part 1904. Employers must record COVID-19 cases only if all of the following three conditions are met:

  1. COVID-19 is confirmed. (See CDC information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases.)
  2. The case is work-related, defined by 29 CFR 1904.5.
  3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g., medical treatment beyond first aid, days away from work).

Experts predict COVID-19 will affect workplaces similarly to influenza. Under conditions associated with extensive person-to-person spread, multiple U.S. regions will experience simultaneous impacts. Workplaces might experience absenteeism, commerce pattern changes and interrupted supply and delivery of materials. Infectious disease experts encourage employers to take basic steps to reduce the risk of worker exposure.

Develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan. The plan should consider and address risk levels associated with work sites and job tasks. Most petroleum service-related jobs are low risk, according to OSHA risk levels. Nevertheless, insist workers follow appropriate safety protocols when in or near the general public, including maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from anyone.

  • Implement basic infection prevention. Good hygiene and infection control includes.
  • Frequent hand-washing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Promoting respiratory etiquette, such as covering coughs and sneezes and encouraging sick workers to stay home.
  • Discouraging workers from using one another’s phones, desks, offices, tools and equipment.
  • Maintaining regular housekeeping. This means routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), etc. COVID-19 can live on clothing and footwear up to four days.
  • Providing service techs with cleaning supplies (spray bottle with 1 ounce of bleach to 16 ounces of water) to wipe down hoses, nozzles and pumps, and customer-facing items such as card readers, PIN pads and receipt printers.
  • Requiring employees to wear nitrile gloves when in contact with equipment at dispensers or in facilities, including point of sale and automatic tank gauging equipment.
  • Making every effort to supply techs with sanitizing products. These products might be scarce.
  • Insisting outside customers pick up parts via curbside pickup only.

Maintain clear communication with employees. Learn workers’ concerns about pay, leave, safety, health and other issues. Informed workers who feel safe at work are less likely to miss work unnecessarily.

Follow OSHA standards. No specific OSHA standard covers COVID-19, but OSHA PPE requirements can help prevent occupational exposure to COVID-19. The OSHA General Duty Clause requires employers to furnish “a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”

The PEI has made available a Coronavirus Resource Center

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