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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

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

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

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

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

Virginia Passes First-In-Nation OSHA Standard for COVID-19

Employers wondering whether Virginia is the new California just got their answer: California has some catching up to do. In a split vote, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board (which includes author Courtney Malveaux) passed a first-in-the-nation standard to address COVID-19 in workplaces. Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH), the state’s version of the … Continue Reading

OSHA Enforcement Delays Can Get Citations Dismissed in Virginia

In Virginia, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citations can get dismissed if the agency delays too long. Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) enforces occupational safety and health laws on behalf of OSHA in Virginia. VOSH covers most private employers in Virginia, as well as all state and local employees. Unlike in other states, … Continue Reading

OSHA Does Not Back Employee Work Refusals in All Circumstances

Since March 2020, workers have expressed elevated concerns about their exposure to COVID-19 on construction sites. As states lift restrictions on construction work, employers should note that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) limits workers’ ability to refuse work.   To read the full article, click here.… Continue Reading

New OSHA Guidance for Businesses Returning to Work

Late last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued new guidance for employers that are reopening their businesses and returning employees to work. Intended as a supplement to the agency’s earlier Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, this guidance does not offer any new recommended practices or strategies for minimizing and preventing the … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues Guidance on Prevention of COVID-19 Cases at Construction Sites

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance for construction industry employers to prevent spread of COVID-19. In addition to measures the agency suggests for all employers, the guidance includes a variety of preventive measures at construction sites, such as: Using Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues Guidance Clarifying Recording Obligations for COVID-19 Cases

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published new guidance requiring employers covered by OSHA’s recordkeeping standards to determine whether employees have contracted COVID-19 while at work. In an effort “to provide certainty to employers and workers,” beginning on May 26, 2020, the agency is requiring all employers to record all COVID-19 cases that: … Continue Reading

States Providing Guidance and Considering New Rules to Protect Agriculture Workers from COVID-19

As harvesting seasons approach, some state safety agencies have considered whether additional safety measures are needed to protect agricultural workers from potential exposures to coronavirus (“COVID-19”). In California, the state Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety & Health (“Cal OSHA”) released specific guidance on April 7, 2020 for agricultural employers. While noting that … Continue Reading

Cal OSHA issues Guidance on COVID-19 Infection Prevention for Childcare Industry

It is well known that California’s workplace health and safety regulations direct employers to develop and implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (“IIPP”) to protect employees from workplace hazards. Some employers also have an obligation under the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety & Health’s (“Cal OSHA”) Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (“ATD”) … Continue Reading

U.S. House Committee to Focus on Workforce Protections

Signaling a renewed emphasis on workforce protections at the opening of the 116th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives has changed the name of its committee with jurisdiction over labor matters back to the Committee on Education and Labor. It was called the Committee on Education and the Workforce when Republicans held the majority in … Continue Reading

What Employers Need to Know about OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Rule for Construction

Full enforcement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new respirable crystalline silica rule in the construction industry began on October 23, 2017, according to the agency. The silica rule is one of the most comprehensive health standards ever issued for the construction industry and significantly reduces the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for crystalline silica. … Continue Reading

OSHA Schedules Second Public Meeting on Voluntary Protection Programs

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has scheduled the second of two meetings to “reshape” the Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) for August 28, 2017. The first meeting was held on July 17, 2017. OSHA established the VPP on July 2, 1982, to promote cooperation between government, industry, and labor to improve worker safety, health, and … Continue Reading

OSHA Releases New Online Whistleblower Complaint Form for Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a revised online whistleblower complaint form. In an announcement, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt said, “Workers who report unsafe conditions and wrongdoing have a range of legal protections from retaliation. The revised online complaint form works to ensure whistleblowers file their … Continue Reading

OSHA Launches New Website for Electronically Filing Injury and Illness Reports

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new electronic portal, the Injury Tracking Application (ITA), where employers can file web-based reports of workplace injuries or illnesses, will be accessible beginning August 1, 2017. Under OSHA’s electronic recordkeeping rule, covered companies with at least 250 employees must submit information electronically from: OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related … Continue Reading

OSHA Exempts Monorail Hoists from Cranes and Derricks Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a new enforcement policy that excludes monorail hoists from regulations on cranes and derricks in constructions. Stakeholders had argued that monorail hoists are not the same as cranes and derricks in construction, pointing out that these hoists are attached to fixed monorails mounted on trucks, trailers, scaffolding … Continue Reading

Construction Contractors Develop New Safety Helmets

Construction firms are developing new safety helmets designed to provide workers with better protection from falls and to curb fatal injuries, according to a report from Bloomberg BNA. According to government researchers, from 2003 to 2010, 2,210 fatal traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occurred in the construction industry, a rate of 2.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent … Continue Reading

OSHA Fall Protection Rule Raises Questions Over ‘Temporary, Relatively Infrequent’ Work

New questions are emerging about key provisions the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s updated rule to prevent falls. Effective January 17, 2017, the final rule updating OSHA’s general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards permits certain work near the edge of low-slope roofs without fall protection systems, as long as the work is “temporary, relatively infrequent.”  To … Continue Reading
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