In the days since Joe Biden took office on January 20 there have been a large number of executive orders. One of those executive orders directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to do more on Covid-19 including a new temporary standard. While OSHA hasn’t gone quite as far as a standard, they have issued guidance on combating Covid in the workplace, since the Executive Order was signed. This is actually the second guidance. The first, in 2020, referenced CDC guidance and deferred a lot to them.
The guidance from OSHA can be found on their webpage entitled : Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. That page has all of the current guidance including encouraging employers to have a Covid Plan. The implication is that if you don’t have a plan and you have an outbreak, you very well could face a General Duty Clause Citation.
While most gins have made it through the season with few or very few issues with Covid, we encourage everyone to go to the site above and review the 16 Elements of a covid plan that OSHA is recommending. Additionally many states are allowing agricultural workers to be in the current group eligible for vaccination. You and your employees may be eligible but distribution is VERY localized and you need to contact your local health department if you don’t know.