Virginia passes an OSHA Standard for COVID-19
In the absence of a definite national plan, states are beginning to pass their own local standards to deal with the pandemic. Virginia is taking the lead on this front by passing the first state-mandated set of standards designed to thwart the spread COVID-19 in the workplace.
The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) will enforce the new standard which meets or exceeds the guidelines provided by the U.S Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Those affected include all state and local employees, and most private employers in Virginia.
In addition to CDC and OSHA guidelines, the standard includes provisions that require employers to:
- 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
- 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.