Our previous blogs discussed the new workplace safety rules adopted by the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The regulations are known as the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), and are now in effect after yesterday’s publication in the Richmond Times Dispatch. The final text is posted on the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s website at:
The rules require employers to develop policies for employees dealing with coronavirus-like symptoms, while prohibiting those workers suspected of having the coronavirus from coming to work. In addition, companies must notify workers of possible exposure to infected co-workers within 24 hours, and require physical distancing as well as sanitation, disinfection and hand-washing procedures. Virginia’s OSHA program (VOSH) will have enforcement jurisdiction over the regulations.
Employers are required to classify employees according to four risk levels for exposure to coronavirus: very high, high, medium or lower. The regulation “recognize[s] that various hazards or job tasks at the same place of employment” can be designated at different risk levels. It also specifies the factors to consider in determining exposure risk levels. Employers must do a workplace hazard assessment for all employees, and with some of the categories, must make a written certification of the assessment.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.