OSHA Updates COVID-19 Guidelines

Photo Courtesy of Mélissa Jeanty from Unsplash
Photo Courtesy of Mélissa Jeanty from Unsplash

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has updated its safety tips for restaurant, food and beverage businesses to protect their workers and mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. The updated guidelines build on previous documents, offering further direction to restaurant operators as dine-in services open in most states.

OSHA most recently recommends businesses implement the following:

  • Train and educate staff on COVID-19 defense and protection procedures.
  • Monitor employee health by adding pre-work screening measures.
  • Add sneeze guards on all salad bars and buffets.
  • Modify existing dining room layouts by placing barriers or partitions between guests and servers when applicable.
  • Use personal protective equipment and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.
  • Assign staff to distribute drinks from self-service beverage stations instead of allowing customers to help themselves to limit interactions with machinery and congregation around it.
  • Remove loose lemons and unwrapped straws from self-service drink stations.
  • Stock grab-and-go coolers to minimum levels.
  • Include physical social-distancing guides such as tape on floors.
  • Wash and rinse food-contact surfaces, food-preparation surfaces and beverage equipment after use.
  • Ensure touchless hand-sanitizing stations are available for customers and employees.
  • Use gloves when handling food or disposing of trash and dispose of them immediately after use.
  • Incorporate contactless menu and payment options.
  • Maintain ventilation systems.
  • Provide unvaccinated or at-risk workers with face coverings and suggest unvaccinated customers wear them as well.

To read the entire list of guidelines, click here. To review the National Restaurant Association’s downloadable version of the update, click here.

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