Some of the guidance appears to be more aspirational than attainable in the real world. But, under laws being enacted in several states including Louisiana, a company’s adherence to governmental guidelines may help defend against claims for liability for injury or death resulting from exposure to COVID-19 during business operations. Thus, even though some of the guidelines may be impractical to implement, oil and gas industry participants may wish to consider whether to implement the guidelines, in whole or part, through use of policies, signage and other methods to inform workers of these practices and procedures.
OSHA’s guidance for oil and gas industry workers and employers includes the following:
- Stagger workers’ arrival and departure times to avoid congregations of workers in parking areas, locker and shower rooms, smoking areas, control rooms and other common areas.
- Encourage single-file movement with six feet between each worker through the facility/site, where possible.
- Provide visual cues (e.g., floor markings, signs) as a reminder to workers to maintain social distancing (six feet).
- Designate workers to monitor and facilitate distancing.
- Limit the number of personnel allowed in doghouses, control rooms and other operating areas.
- Limit meeting sizes and/or hold meetings virtually or using social distancing outside, if possible.
- Stagger break times or provide temporary break areas, including for water breaks, and restrooms to avoid groups of workers gathering during breaks. Workers should maintain at least six feet of distance from others at all times, including on breaks.
- Remove or rearrange chairs and tables, or add partitions to tables, in break rooms, control rooms and other areas workers may frequent to increase worker separation. Identify alternative areas to accommodate overflow volume, such as training and conference rooms, or using outside tents for shaded break and lunch areas.
- Encourage workers to avoid carpooling to and from work and job sites
- Consider cohorting workers into shifts and shared shuttle vehicle assignments.
- Provide workers handwashing stations equipped with soap, running water and single-use paper towels in multiple locations. If possible, choose handwashing stations that are touch-free.
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not immediately available.
- Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations. If possible, choose hand sanitizer stations that are touch-free.
- Consider other workplace policies and programs to promote personal hygiene, such as:
- Building additional short breaks into staff schedules to increase how often staff can wash their hands with soap…