The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry has recently published draft emergency regulations designed to establish requirements for employers and employees to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. If adopted, these emergency regulations would apply to employers/employees covered by Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) program jurisdiction.
These regulations are in draft form and may be subject to change – but we wanted to provide you some advance notice of what is being considered to help you and your business plan for the future. The draft regulations can be found here
and you may submit public comments here
Public comment on these draft regulations are due by June 22nd and the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board will meet on June 24th to consider adoption of these regulations. We are in the process of reviewing the document and will send out updated information as it becomes available. We strongly encourage you to review the entire document, but there are several areas of importance to our industry.
Purpose, Scope and Applicability:
The purpose, scope, and applicability of these regulations can be found on pages 4 – 6.
This emergency temporary standard/emergency regulation is designed to establish requirements for employers to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to and among employees and employers. Application of this standard/regulation to a place of employment will be based on the exposure risk level presented by SARS-CoV-2 virus-related and COVID-19 disease-related hazards present or job tasks undertaken by employees at the place of employment as defined in this standard/regulation (i.e., “very high”, “high, “medium”, and “lower”).
It is recognized that various hazards or job tasks at the same place of employment can be designated as “very high”, “high, “medium”, or “lower” exposure risk for purposes of application of the requirements of this standard/regulation. It is further recognized that various required job tasks prohibit an employee from being able to observe physical distancing from other persons.
Factors that shall be considered in determining exposure risk level can be found on page 5.
Mandatory Requirements for All Employers:
- Exposure assessment and determination, notification requirements, and employee access to exposure and medical records (specific requirements on pages 16 – 18)
- Please note the references to subcontractors and contract employees on page 17
- Return to Work policies and procedures (pages 18 – 20)
- Physical distancing (page 20)
- Common areas, breakrooms, and lunchrooms (pages 20 – 21)
- Work vehicles (page 21)
- Sanitation and disinfecting (pages 22 – 23)
Requirements for Hazards or Job Tasks Classified at “Medium” Exposure Risk:
Under the draft regulations, “Medium” exposure risk hazards or job tasks are those not otherwise classified as “very high” or “high” exposure risk in places of employment that require more than minimal occupational contact inside six feet with other employees, other persons, or the general public who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who are not known or suspected COVID-19. “Medium” exposure risk hazards or job tasks may include, but are not limited to, operations and services in indoor and outdoor construction settings.
The requirements for hazards or job tasks classified at “medium” exposure risk can be found on pages 28 – 30. Hazards or job tasks classified at medium exposure risk must comply with these requirements in addition to the “Mandatory Requirements for All Employers” as well as “Section 70” and “Section 80”, which are both highlighted below.
Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan (“Section 70”):
Employers with hazards or job tasks classified as “medium” with 11 or more employees shall develop and implement a written Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan. The plan and training requirements tied to the plan shall only apply to those employees classified as “very high,” “high,” and “medium” covered by this section. More information about these plans can be found on pages 31 – 33.
Training (“Section 80”)
Training requirements can be found on pages 33 – 35. HBAV will be seeking clarification regarding this section’s applicability to hazards or job tasks not classified as “very high” or “high.
Lower Exposure Risk Hazards or Job Tasks:
“Lower” exposure risk hazards or job tasks are those not otherwise classified as “very high”, “high”, or “medium” exposure risk that do not require contact inside six feet with persons known to be, or suspected of being, or who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2; nor contact inside six feet with other employees, other persons, or the general public except as otherwise provided in this definition.
Employees in this category have minimal occupational contact with other employees, other persons, or the general public; 22 or are able to achieve minimal occupational contact through the implementation of engineering, administrative and work practice controls, such as, but not limited to:
- Installation of floor to ceiling physical barriers constructed of impermeable material and not subject to unintentional displacement (e.g., such as clear plastic walls at convenience stores behind which only one employee is working at any one time);
- Staggered work shifts;
- Delivering services remotely by phone, audio, video, mail, package delivery, curbside pickup or delivery, etc.;
- Mandatory physical distancing of employees from other employees, other persons, and the general public.