In a June 18, 2020 Press Release, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance to assist employers that are reopening their non-essential businesses after shuttering or partially shuttering in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The guidance supplements the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ previously developed Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and the White House’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. Information contained in the guidance is not a standard or regulation and creates no legal obligations. The information is intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. While we recognize that many WWEMA-member businesses are part of a critical infrastructure sector designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) whose workers are considered essential, this guidance nonetheless contains useful information. Specifically, it includes employer FAQs about COVID workplace screening, implementation examples for safety principles, and regional OSHA office contact information.
OSHA recommends that employers continually monitor federal, state, and local government guidelines for updated information about ongoing community transmission and mitigation measures, as well as for evolving guidance on disinfection and other best practices for worker protection. A copy of the guidance is available HERE. Updates to the guidance will be shared on OSHA’s webpage HERE. On June 11, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a law suit brought by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) that called on OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard on infectious diseases amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. The AFL-CIO first petitioned OSHA on March 6, 2020 for a standard, especially in light of the risk posed to workers classified as essential workers, who face workplace hazards because of exposure to colleagues, patients, or customers.