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Surgical Masks, Respirators, and More: Employers Grapple with Personal Protective Equipment Requirements Amid Constantly Evolving COVID-19 Guidance and Laws

Eight months into the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic and employers in both healthcare and non-healthcare settings are grappling with requirements for employees’ use of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and respiratory protection. Rather than clarify the requirements, continually evolving guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OSHA”), state safety...… Continue Reading
October 26, 2020

CDC’s Expansion of “Close Contact” Definition Spells Trouble for Employers

On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, the CDC issued new guidance expanding the definition of a “close contact” from someone who has been within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive person for 15 minutes or more to: “Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more...… Continue Reading
October 21, 2020

Oregon OSHA Moves Forward with COVID-19 Temporary Standard

As circumstances from the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic continue to evolve, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has maintained reliance on Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”), known as the General Duty Clause, and current standards to address workplace exposures to COVID-19. Rather than engage in rulemaking, OSHA has...… Continue Reading
October 7, 2020

Flip-flopping Guidance: The Saga Continues

Last week we wrote about government agencies’ tendencies to “flip-flop” on guidance related to preventing transmission and spread of coronavirus (“COVID-19”), and how this impacts employers’ ability to meet health and safety compliance obligations expectations and avoid regulatory liability. Underscoring these points, on Monday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) rolled out...… Continue Reading
October 6, 2020

COVID-19 Reporting: An Employer’s Nightmare

It is an unfortunate outcome of this pandemic that in the OSHA world, guidance lags behind enforcement. While state and federal agencies try to make up their minds on the best way of managing COVID-19 threats in the workplace, many employers who have to remain open are receiving citations and penalties for, essentially, making educated...… Continue Reading
October 2, 2020

Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission Issues Spate of Pro-Employer Decisions

Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), a 3-Commisioner panel appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate which hears appeals of contested OSHA cases, issued two decisions vacating OSHA’s citations and one decision reclassifying a willful violation to a serious violation and reducing the penalty from $49,000 to just $3500....… Continue Reading
September 29, 2020

Virginia COVID-19 Restrictions and Workplace Standards Challenged by Manufacturers’ Association

A manufacturers’ association and several employers have filed a lawsuit to enjoin Virginia’s Emergency Temporary Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention related to COVID-19, which the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board adopted on July 15, 2020. To read the entire article, please click here.… Continue Reading
September 23, 2020

Can You Claim Employee Misconduct In an OSHA Citation?

When Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cites for a workplace injury, employers often claim employee misconduct as an affirmative defense. There are a few key points employers can keep in mind. To read the full article, click here.… Continue Reading
September 21, 2020

Assembly Bill 685 Changes Employer Notification Requirements on COVID-19 and Enhances Cal OSHA Enforcement Abilities

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 685, which requires employers to provide written notifications to employees within one business day of receiving notice of potential exposure to coronavirus (“COVID-19”).  AB 685 also authorizes the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal OSHA”) to prohibit operations, processes, and prevent entry into workplaces that...… Continue Reading
September 17, 2020

Have You Started Your COVID-19 Training and Infectious Disease Plan In Virginia?

Virginia recently enacted its Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19. The standard’s requirement that employers train workers came and went on August 26, 2020. Virginia Occupational Safety and Health expects employers to complete their Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plans no later than September 25, 2020. To view the complete article, please click here.… Continue Reading
September 8, 2020

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