News & Updates

Virginia’s Revised COVID-19 Workplace Safety Regulations

Sep 14, 2021 | HBAV News

The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board recently adopted amendments to the “Virginia Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of COVID-19”. The text of the revised Standard can be found here.

These regulations became effective on September 8, 2021 and apply to every employer, employee, and place of employment in the Commonwealth of Virginia within the jurisdiction of the VOSH program as described in §§16VAC25-60-20 and 16VAC25-60-30, including state and local government employers and employees.

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) has also published a summary of the significant changes here, including:

  • Pages 3 and 4- Employers are required to “have a policy in place to ensure compliance with the requirements in this section to protect employees from workplace exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Such policy shall have a method to receive anonymous complaints of violations. An employer that enforces its policy in good faith and resolves filed complaints shall be considered in compliance with this subsection.”
  • Page 4 – The requirement for employers to notify the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) of three or more cases within a 14 day period is changed to two or more cases to be consistent with a similar requirement to report such cases to the Virginia Department of Health.
  • Pages 4 and 5 – New language has been added regarding an employer’s “return to work” policies and procedures for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Pages 5 and 6 – Revised Standard includes language that employers “shall provide and require employees that are not fully vaccinated, fully vaccinated employees in areas of substantial or high community transmission, and otherwise at-risk employees (because of a prior transplant or other medical condition) to wear face coverings or surgical masks while indoors, unless their work task requires a respirator or other PPE. Such employees shall wear a face covering or surgical mask that covers the nose and mouth to contain the wearer’s respiratory droplets and help protect others and potentially themselves. This subsection does not apply to fully vaccinated employees in areas of low to moderate community transmission, and except as otherwise noted.”
  • Page 6 – Language was also added to provide exceptions to the requirement for face covering, facemasks, or surgical masks for for employees that are not fully vaccinated and fully vaccinated employees in areas of substantial or high community transmission.
  • Page 9 – New requirements have been added for employers with higher-risk workplaces with mixed-vaccination status employees.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Revised Standard
The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry has also posted an extensive Frequently Asked Questions document on their website. We encourage all employers to review the document in its entirety.

We have excerpted several of the Q&A’s below – they are organized in the order they are appear on the DOLI website. Please use the link provided above to review DOLI’s answers to these questions.


Section: §10 Purpose, scope, and applicability.
Question 4: If an employer complies with CDC guidance for its industry, do they have to comply with the standard?

Question 8: Does the Standard require employers to conduct “contact tracing’ if one of their employees is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Question 20: Can my employer legally ask if I received the COVID-19 vaccine and am fully vaccinated?



Section: §20 Effective Dates
Question 1: What are the effective dates for the Standard?



Section: §40 Mandatory requirements for all employers
Question 1: Can an employer require an employee who was diagnosed with COVID-19 or was suspected to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to work under §40.B?”

Question 3: Are building owners required to notify employer tenants of a SARS-CoV-2 positive test of an employee in the building?”

Question 5: Does the Standard contain a requirement for a mask mandate for the public (the Standard uses the term “face covering”)

Question 6: Does the standard require employers in Virginia to notify employees about a positive case of COVID-19 in the workplace?

Question 7: If an employee tests positive, but was not at a facility or jobsite where other employees could have been exposed, does that positive test have to be reported under 16VAC25-220-40.B.7.d or §16VAC25-220-40.B.7.e?

Question 10: Does a company with multiple locations in Virginia that operate in an identical or very similar fashion have to perform a risk assessment specific to each location?”

Question 11: Under, §16VAC25-220-40.B.7.e there is a requirement for employers to notify The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry within 24 hours of the discovery of two (2) or more employees present at the place of employment within a 14-day period testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 virus during that 14-day time period. Does the time period include days prior to when the standard went into effect, or is the time period forward looking from the effective date of the standard?”

Question 13: The standard calls for cleaning of common spaces, including bathrooms at the end of each shift 16VAC25-220-40.L.5. Does this requirement include port-a-johns or privies at construction or other work sites?”

Question 20: Under Section 16VAC25-220-40.B.7.e, should an employer notify the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry only if one of its own employees is diagnosed? Or does this notification requirement include diagnosed contractors and/or other workers at the same worksite?

Question 25: Which employees are not required to stay home (quarantine) after having close contact with someone with COVID-19?

Question 34: How do employers comply with the COVID-19 case reporting requirements to VDH and DOLI contained in 16VAC25-220-40.B.7.d and -40.B.7.e?

Question 38: Does 16VAC25-220-40.F.4 mean construction employers would need to require employees traveling in a work vehicle to shave off any facial hair (goatee/beard) as part of the fit testing, and also have such employees undergo a medical evaluation?

Question 39: Wearing of face masks by outdoor staff provided that there is social distancing