Tag archives: OSHA

US: OSHA Issues COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rule

On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a mandatory workplace safety rule requiring employers to take specified steps to protect workers from COVID-19.  However, the rule applies only to health care settings.  Referred to as an emergency temporary standard (ETS), the rule exempts fully vaccinated workers from masking, distancing, and barrier requirements when in well-defined areas where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.

OSHA has also updated its Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace guidance for workplaces … Continue Reading

US: Labor Department Sets Occupational Safety & Health Meeting

The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health will conduct a virtual meeting on June 22, 2021, to address current workplace issues and its prior work.  The details are set forth in today’s U.S. Department of Labor announcement.  The DOL and federal OSHA have been shifting priorities since the initiation of the Biden Administration, and are now focusing on enhanced workplace health and safety inspections and enforcement, notably including COVID-related worker protection issues.  There has been talk of increasing the amount of monetary civil penalties and potentially triggering associated criminal indictments for particularly egregious employer misfeasance.… Continue Reading

US: OSHA Notices HazCom Hearing

We reported previously on federal OSHA’s efforts to revise and update various provisions of the Hazard Communication Standard in order to pursue greater workplace safety.  On May 20, 2021, OSHA announced an informal public hearing commencing on September 21, 2021 for the purpose of entertaining stakeholder comments and recommendations.  For more information, please see this Trade Release, or reach out to us with any questions.… Continue Reading

New US federal OSHA pamphlet issued

PPE for Emergency Response and Reocvery Workers Pamphlet coverA new federal OSHA pamphlet has been issued.

The OSHA pamphlet, “PPE for Emergency Response and Recovery Workers,” provides guidance to employers on the proper selection and use of and training concerning personal protective equipment in responding to emergencies and other incidents requiring it.

Among other advice, OSHA reminds employers of the four levels (A – D) of PPE available.

If you are an employer and need guidance on US Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Our OSHA team

Our global health and safety law team provides clients with comprehensive legal advice on … Continue Reading

US: Mandatory COVID-19 vaccines and employer health and safety obligations

Federal OSHA has recently released guidance advising on employer health and safety obligations when employers require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Specifically, OSHA addresses the potential (albeit rare to date) of an employee who incurs an adverse reaction to a mandated vaccination. In such a situation, the reaction will be deemed “work-related.”

The ultimate effect of this guidance is that if the adverse reaction involves days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job or medical treatment beyond first aid, it will be considered a “recordable” incident. In other words, the reaction will … Continue Reading

US: Why a Mandatory Vaccination Policy May Not Restore Business as Usual for Companies

Throughout the United States, employers are weighing whether to have a mandatory vaccination policy for COVID-19. The objective is to bring employees back to work safely and the understandable desire to return to our pre-pandemic status quo.

Mandatory vaccination policy

This post does not advocate in favor or against a mandatory vaccination policy—except to note there may be good reasons not to require it; the law requires accommodation from such a requirement in some circumstances; and there is no clear legal authority to compel employees as a condition of employment to receive a vaccine which has only FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Rather, it’s … Continue Reading

US: Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposal to update Hazard Communication Standard

On February 5, 2021, federal OSHA issued a proposed rule to update the US Department of Labor’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS or HazCom) to align with the seventh revision of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).  In support of its proposed rule, OSHA asserts the update will increase worker protection and reduce occupational illness and injury by continuing to improve the information on product labels and Safety Data Sheets. In particular, the new modifications are intended to align with standards implemented by other federal agencies and Canada.  For more information, read our legal … Continue Reading

US: California employers must take measures to curb workplace spread of coronavirus under emergency CAL/OSHA rules

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has approved emergency, temporary COVID-19 regulations under California’s Occupational Safety & Health Act. California employers must now establish specific measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in nearly every workplace in California.  The emergency regulations, which the Standards Board approved on Thursday night by a unanimous vote, must first be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for final approval. Upon submission, the OAL will have only 10 calendar days to approve or deny the proposed emergency regulations. If approved, the OAL will file the emergency regulation with the Secretary of … Continue Reading

US: Virginia becomes first state to adopt COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

On July 27, 2020, the first state “Emergency Temporary Standard” (ETS) for COVID-19 went into effect. The ETS requires employers in the state to develop and implement COVID-19 prevention and control measures in the workplace. The ETS is in effect for six months, although this period could be shortened if the Virginia State of Emergency expires, a permanent standard is enacted or the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board repeals it.

Employers covered by the Emergency Temporary Standard

The ETS applies to all public and private employers and places of employment in Virginia, with the exception of federal employers, private … Continue Reading

US: Return to work considerations for New York employers during COVID-19 pandemic

Businesses with operations in New York State and, particularly, in New York City, face unique obstacles with respect to reopening their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  With over 380,000 confirmed cases across the state, and over 200,000 confirmed cases in New York City, most New York residents have been affected by the virus in some way, and many are apprehensive about reentering the workplace. New York City’s dense population of over 8 million residents and approximately 10 million commuters — many of whom rely on public transportation — undoubtedly exacerbates these concerns.  In light of these concerns, Governor Cuomo extended … Continue Reading

US: Return to work in an office environment: Employer considerations and best practices

Many businesses quickly shifted to remote work, where possible, and abandoned operations in an office setting when COVID-19 became a pandemic or when jurisdictions required or encouraged people to stay at home. Now, as these businesses contemplate resuming operations in the general office setting, they are grappling with a myriad of issues and concerns.  See our article COVID-19:  Best practice considerations for resuming work in an office setting for employer considerations for resuming work in the office setting, including advice on determining when to reopen, determining modifications to be made in the workplace, employee communication and training considerations, implementing the … Continue Reading

US: New key COVID-19 employment and labor issues

COVID-19, the 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19” or the “coronavirus”) continues to stress US employers attempting to prevent the disease from spreading in their workplaces while continuing to operate effectively. With each passing day, health authorities provide more information about the spread of the disease and federal, state and local governments impose additional restrictions that impact businesses, their employees and their customers/clients. As the commercial and social environment rapidly changes, we are continuing to address a wide variety of labor and employment issues arising from those changes. We address some of those basic issues in US: Critical COVID-19 labor and employment Continue Reading

US employment law considerations for COVID-19 coronavirus

COVID-19, the 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19” or the “coronavirus”) is naturally on the minds of US employers as the number of cases in the US continues to rise. Although the Centers for Disease Control is still advising that most people in the US have a low immediate risk of exposure, that could change and employers are well advised to consider some basic questions that could arise in the future. We pose and answer some of those basic questions in our article US employers must consider multiple legal requirements when addressing coronavirus concerns. Remember that individual situations can vary and … Continue Reading

Retaliation and whistleblower claims in healthcare expected to remain high

The number of retaliation and whistleblower claims in the US continue to rise. According to data released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), retaliation claims made up 44.5 percent of all charges filed in 2015.  Also, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported a 6 percent increase in the number of whistleblower cases filed in FY 2015.  The increase in retaliation and whistleblowing claims is especially felt in the healthcare industry where whistleblowers collected a little over $330 million in rewards from False Claims Act (FCA) cases.  Under the FCA, individuals who report fraud and false claims against … Continue Reading

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