Fed OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS: What You Need to Know About Training

By Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Task Force

Today’s topic on the Fed OSHA COVID-19 ETS is training.


29 C.F.R. Section 1910.502(n) requires that all employers covered by the ETS provide training to their employees.  To the extent that the employer has already provided training and that training is compliant with the standard, the employer does not need to re-train employees.  This summary describes the training requirements of the ETS.

If the employer has already provided training related to COVID-19, but the previous training did not cover all the elements required by the ETS, the employer must offer training on the elements it had not previously addressed.

As with other OSHA standards, the training required by the ETS must be administered at a literacy level and in a language employees understand.  The trainer must be a person knowledgeable in the topics covered by the training and how they apply to the employee’s specific job tasks.  Additionally, the training should be interactive, providing an opportunity for interactive questions and answers.  An employer may satisfy the interactive requirement even if the employer offers a virtual training if the employer makes available a qualified trainer to address questions after the training or offers a telephone hotline where employees may ask questions.

The training must be designed to allow employees to understand the following:

    • What COVID-19 is, how it is transmitted (including pre-symptom and asymptomatic transmission)
    • Ways to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 including:
      • the importance of hand hygiene;
      • the proper covering of the nose and mouth;
      • the signs and symptoms of disease;
      • the risk factors for severe illness; and
      • when to seek medical attention.
    • The employer’s policies and procedures on patient screening and management
    • Tasks in the workplace that could result in COVID-19 infection
    • Workplace policies and procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 applicable to employees’ duties
    • If there are multiple employers at the worksite, multi-employer workplace agreements related to infection control policies and procedures, the use of common areas, and the use of shared equipment
    • The employer’s policies and procedures for all PPE worn in compliance with the ETS including:
      • when PPE is required to protect against COVID-19;
      • how to properly put on, wear, and take off PPE;
      • how to properly care, store, clean, maintain, and dispose of PPE; and
      • any modifications to donning, doffing, cleaning, storage, maintenance, and disposal procedures needed to address COVID-19 when the PPE is worn to address workplace hazards other than COVID-19.
    • Workplace policies and procedures for cleaning and disinfection
    • Available sick leave policies and any COVID-19 benefits employees may be entitled to under federal, state, or local laws
    • The identity of the safety coordinator specified in the COVID-19 Plan
    • How the employee can obtain copies of the training materials and any of the employer’s COVID-19 policies and procedures

The ETS also mandates re-training of employees when:

    • Changes occur that affect the employee’s risk of contracting COVID-19 at work, such as new job tasks;
    • The employer’s policies or procedures are changed; or
    • There is an indication that the employee has not retained the necessary understanding or skill.

Please contact any of the OSHA attorneys in Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice if you need help determining ETS requirements regarding training.  Also, check out our articles about other sections of the ETS, including:

Look for another blog soon!

2 thoughts on “Fed OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS: What You Need to Know About Training

  1. I think for this PPE is a must for the training and the safety of the employee, as you mention. Also thanks a lot for sharing this great article about covid-19 training. Safety from covid is essential. Keep sharing more.

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