US-VA | COVID-19 | Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board Adopts Temporary COVID-19 Workplace Standard

On July 15, 2020 the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board adopted 16 VAC 25-220 Emergency Temporary Standard, Infectious Diseases Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19. The standard is the first workplace safety standard that will be enforceable by a state’s OSHA. The standard will go into effect upon publication, which is expected during the week of July 27, 2020.

The new standard mandates guidance issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and OSHA. The standard also requires employers to do the following:

  • Provide flexible sick leave policies, telework and staggered shifts when feasible;
  • Provide both handwashing stations and hand sanitizer when feasible;
  • Assess risk levels of employers and suppliers before entry;
  • Notify the Virginia Department of Health of positive COVID-19 tests;
  • Notify VOSH of three or more positive COVID-19 tests within a two-week period;
  • Assess hazard levels of all job tasks;
  • Provide COVID-19 training of all employees within 30 days (except for low-hazard places of employment);
  • Prepare infectious disease preparedness and response plans within 60 days;
  • Post or present agency-prepared COVID-19 information to all employees; and
  • Maintain air handling systems in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards.

The standard also requires employers to develop and train employees on infectious disease preparedness and response plans. Covered employers will be expected to do this 60 days from the effective date of the standard.

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Sources:

Virginia Adopts First-in-the-Nation Workplace Safety Standards for COVID-19 Pandemic, Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board, July 15, 2020.

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