May 25, 2022

Volume XII, Number 145


May 25, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

May 24, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

May 23, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

OSHA State Plan Agencies Issue COVID-19 Guidance

Over the past several months, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has steadily issued guidance to both employers and agency officials on strategies to navigate regulatory matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as we have discussed herehereherehere, and here. However, federal OSHA is not the only government agency addressing the crisis at hand. Below is an outline of efforts OSHA State Plan agencies have also implemented, as of April 23, 2020, to address COVID-19 issues in the workplace. Should you operate in any one or more of these jurisdictions, you will want to be cognizant of the guidance outlined below. (Please note that this outline is limited to measures that state “OSHA” agencies have taken to address COVID-19; it does not include all state measures that state governments have taken, such as shelter-in-place orders, business closures, public health orders, and so forth).

No additional COVID-19 measures or guidance beyond federal OSHA

Additional COVID-19 measures or guidance beyond federal OSHA

CaliforniaCalifornia Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)

  • Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) standard aimed at preventing worker illness from infectious diseases that can be transmitted by inhaling air that contains viruses (including COVID-19), bacteria or other disease-causing organisms. The ATD standard is only mandatory for certain healthcare employers in California, namely workplaces at high risk for infectious diseases such as hospitals, clinics, emergency medical services, laboratories, prisons, and homeless shelters.  However, it also can provide useful guidance for protecting other workers exposed to COVID-19 in similar settings.
  • Cal/OSHA Interim Guidelines for General Industry on 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is divided into industries subject to the ATD standard, those not subject to the ATD standard, and workplaces where there is significant risk of exposure.
  • Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus helps guide employers on compliance with the ATD standard set forth above, addresses related issues such as respirator shortages and industry-specific health and safety guidance, and provides education materials and fact sheets relevant to COVID-19.

Connecticut*Connecticut Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA)

  • A website dedicated to N95 respirator resources, including use and fit testing, a sample written respiratory protection program, a worksheet for developing a written respirator program and links and information on federal OSHA’s respirator protection standard.

 HawaiiHawaii Occupational Safety and Health (HIOSH)

Maine*Maine Department of Labor (MDOL)

  • Effective March 23, 2020, MDOL announced it will temporarily adopt the federal OSHA enforcement guidance for N95 respirators for state and local government healthcare employers, which recommends that healthcare employers change from a quantitative fit testing method to a qualitative testing method to preserve the integrity of N95 respirators.

MarylandMaryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH)

MichiganMichigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA)

MinnesotaMinnesota Department of Labor and Industry and Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA)

  • A frequently asked questions document specific to employers and employees addresses such topics as whether critical sector employees need a special certificate or permit, whether employers can require employees to work from home, whether employers can change their employees’ regular work schedules, whether employers are required to make employees with underlying health conditions work from home, and many more.
  • Worker protections related to COVID-19, including use of sick leave, the federal Family Medical Leave Act, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, rights to non-discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, unemployment insurance benefits, protections for workers who contract or have been exposed to COVID-19, workers’ compensation, final wages, changes to working conditions, hours worked and hours paid and workplace safety and health.
  • COVID-19: Protecting grocery store workers, including plans for effective handwashing and social distancing, ensuring sick workers are not at work, prohibiting workplace discrimination, educating workers about how to prevent coronavirus transmission, checkout stand and counter considerations, stocking shelves and cleaning surfaces as well as other protective measures.
  • Safety and health guidelines for the employers and employees of essential work operations that covers fundamental safety and health control measures that should be employed to minimize exposure to COVID-19 from transmission through basic activities and functions, such as coughing, sneezing and talking.

NevadaNevada OSHA (NVOSHA)

New Jersey*Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Office (PEOSH)

New MexicoNew Mexico Environment Department Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (NM OSHA)

North CarolinaNorth Carolina Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHNC)

  • FAQ’s Regarding COVID-19 address a variety of North Carolina employer- and employee-specific questions and answers regarding COVID-19.
  • A website dedicated to COVID-19 “Solutions” includes information on specific engineering, administrative and work practice controls and personal protective equipment, as well as resources to assist employers in the state, including a variety of presentations and webinars specific to COVID-19 exposure.
  • A host of Guidance, Fact Sheets and Hazard Alerts, including on respiratory protection.

OregonOregon Occupational Safety and Health (Oregon OSHA)

  • Interim Guidance Related to COVID-19 reiterates that it is still employers’ responsibility to ensure that their employees are adequately protected. The interim guidance addresses new and modified rules with respect to certifications, monitoring and training, agriculture labor housing and safety committees and meetings.
  • Scope of Oregon OSHA COVID-19 Activity offers a variety of questions and answers regarding Oregon OSHA’s education and enforcement of issues related to COVID-19.
  • COVID-19: Job Health, Safety Resources for Oregon Contractors encourages construction contractors that continue to operate to work closely with their safety specialists and legal counsel to ensure that they are in compliance with the requirements set out in this guidance. The guidance addresses requirements for construction worksite safety, worker responsibilities, social distancing, personal protective equipment, sanitation and cleanliness, workers entering occupied buildings or homes, job site visitors and general job site/office practices.

Puerto RicoPuerto Rico OSHA (PR OSHA)

South CarolinaSouth Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Administration (SCOSHA)

VermontVermont Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA)

VirginiaVirginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH)

  • Consultation Newsletter, the first edition of which covers what is COVID-19, provides an outlook for a new economy, adhering to guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19 facts and symptoms and testing.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) VOSH Hazard Alert covers workplace safety, prevention, screening, guidance for an epidemic policy/program, and implementing workplace controls and PPE.

WashingtonWashington State Department of Labor & Industries Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH)

WyomingWyoming OSHA

[1] States with an asterisk (*) have OSHA-approved State Plans that cover only state/local government workers.  States without an asterisk have OSHA-approved State Plans that cover private and state/local government workplaces.

© Copyright 2022 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 114

About this Author

Matthew C Cooper Labor & Employment Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Denver, CO

Matthew Cooper is currently assisting employers with crisis response, labor and employment, and health and safety issues related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Matt utilizes his unique prior experience as a trial lawyer for the US Department of Labor, and as a boutique firm litigator, to provide pointed advice to employers dealing with a wide array of environmental, safety and health (ES&H) and labor and employment (L&E) matters.

As a counselor, Matt helps employers develop robust ES&H and L&E policies to ensure compliance with government laws and...

Darin J. Smith energy and environmental lawyer Squire PB

Darin J. Smith is a member of the firm’s Environmental, Safety & Health Practice Group and focuses his practice on helping organizations manage and mitigate the spectrum of financial and reputational liabilities that may arise from a crisis no matter the size, type or location. He has assisted clients in all stages of crisis management, from emergency preparedness to public relations to litigation and settlement negotiations.

Darin also specifically counsels clients on a wide range of environmental liability issues relating to the Comprehensive Environmental...

+1 303 894 6104