Criticizing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) enforcement efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General (OIG) pushes for a COVID-19, virus-specific standard in its report issued on February 25, 2021.

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As directed by President Joe Biden’s Executive Order issued on January 21, 2021 requiring the Federal Government to take swift action to protect workers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has released updated guidance on how to prevent exposure and the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

The guidance entitled

President-Elect Joseph Biden has not named a nominee for Secretary of Labor yet, much less an Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health who would lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But individuals with a background in organized labor may be forerunners. He has promised to be “the most pro-union president

On July 15, 2020, Virginia became the first state in the nation to promulgate an Emergency Temporary Standard to address COVID-19 in workplaces. Even with vaccine deliveries on the way, Virginia has proposed a Permanent Standard for consideration by the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board (which includes author Courtney Malveaux).

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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has issued Executive Order Number Seventy-Two, expanding face covering requirements, reducing allowable social gatherings, and directing Virginians to remain at home after midnight. The Order also states that individuals who decline to wear a face covering due to a medical condition are not required to produce medical documentation verifying their

As part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic in workplaces, OSHA continues to issue alerts and guidance designed to keep workers safe.  The most recent guidance issued by OSHA deals with ventilation in the workplace to help maintain a safe and healthy work environment.

Under the guidance, OSHA recommends that

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.

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The Mine Safety and Health Administration (“MSHA”) has declined to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) to address pandemic safety for miners. MSHA determined that issuance of an ETS was unnecessary for COVID-19 because MSHA’s existing health and safety standards allow MSHA to require mine operators to take action to abate COVID-19 health hazards in