On June 10, 2021, fifteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has issued its first ‘emergency temporary standard’ (“ETS”) governing the impact of COVID-19 on health care workers.

The ETS broadly requires healthcare employers to conduct an internal safety assessment and develop a safety plan, which must be in writing for all employers with more than 10 employees. The ETS further delineates requirements relating to patient screening and management, health precautions, masks and PPE,  aerosol-generating procedures, physical distancing, physical barriers, cleaning and disinfection, ventilation, health screening, vaccination, employee training, anti-retaliation, record-keeping, reporting occurrences of COVID-19 transmission, and paying employees for periods of quarantine. Consistent with recent CDC guidance, the ETS also contains carve outs on employee mask-wearing requirements where employees are all vaccinated or where employees are given reasonable accommodations exempting them from mask-wearing and/or vaccination requirements.
Continue Reading OSHA’s New Safety Rule: Health Care Workers and Beyond

While California inches closer to the state’s June 15 target to lift restrictions and reopen the economy, California employers will have to wait for guidance from CalOSHA on the standards that will govern COVID-19 workplace safety.  For now, CalOSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards released in November 2020 will remain in place and employers will need to continue to be mindful of these more restrictive guidelines, despite loosening of other state restrictions.
Continue Reading CalOSHA Withdraws Recently Proposed Revisions to its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS)

On March 22, 2021, Marty Walsh, the two-term Boston mayor, was confirmed as the Labor Secretary by the United States Senate in a 68-29 vote.  He becomes the first union leader to run the Department of Labor in over four decades. Workplace safety will be one area that we can expect to undergo significant change under Walsh. 
Continue Reading DOL and OSHA: Agency Updates

With little forewarning to the regulated community, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health passed a sweeping new standard requiring employers in the state to implement prescribed COVID-19 protections. Now, employers’ groups are fighting back.
Continue Reading Employers’ Groups Bring Fight Against Cal/OSHA COVID-19 ETS to Court

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted on November 19 to implement a stringent new standard for employers to follow when implementing COVID-19 protections in the state.  The state’s rulemaking agency for workplace safety voted unanimously to pass the “Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations,” which is expected to go into effect within 10 days (assuming the State’s Office of Administrative Law adopts Cal/OSHA’s regulation).
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Votes to Implement Strict COVID-19 Workplace Protections for California Workers

On May 1, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an OSHA Alert for restaurants and beverage service businesses providing curbside and takeout service during the pandemic.  This Alert is one in a series of industry-specific alerts that OSHA has published, and will continue to publish, to assist and educate businesses that will re-open (or that continued to operate), and which recommends certain measures to protect employees and patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading OSHA Releases COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Restaurants Offering Takeout or Curbside Pickup

The Centers for Disease Control and Occupational Safety and Health Administration collaborated to release new guidance for employers in the meat processing industry on April 26. OSHA and the CDC noted several unique facets of meat processing work that exposed workers to increased likelihood of COVID-19 transmission at work, including close contact, the duration of the close contact, shared tools and surfaces and the frequency of ride-sharing and community-based interactions among employees.
Continue Reading CDC, OSHA Release Workplace Safety Guidance for Meat Processing Employers

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently published Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, outlining steps employers can take to help protect their workforce. The Guidance focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, work practice controls and personal protective equipment, as well as considerations for doing so.
Continue Reading OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19