All COVID-19 Prevention Plan Requirements
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COVID-19 Prevention Plans
Several states require employers to develop and implement COVID-19 prevention and response plans to protect employees and the public in their workplaces.
This article provides the state-specific orders, guidelines, and regulations that mandate COVID-19 plans. The article also summarizes OSHA’s revised COVID-19 workplace guidance.
OSHA Workplace Guidance
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (the Act) requires employers to “comply with safety and health standards and regulations issued and enforced either by OSHA or by an OSHA-approved state plan.”
Also, the Act’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide workers with a “workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”OSHA’s guidance on Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace advises employers to develop and implement a COVID-19 prevention program – also known as a plan. The program should, at a minimum, involve “conducting a hazard assessment; identifying a combination of measures that limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace; adopting measures to ensure that workers who are infected or potentially infected are separated and sent home from the workplace; and implementing protections from retaliation for workers who raise COVID-19 related concerns.” OSHA also recommends employers involve workers, unions, or other employee representatives in developing the program.
Even if not required at the federal level, employers should develop and implement a COVID-19 prevention program/plan. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s “General Duty Clause,” employers must provide workers with a safe and healthy workplace. Employers can meet this requirement by, in part, implementing a COVID-19 plan to protect both their workers and the public. Developing and implementing a COVID-19 plan also demonstrates an employer’s commitment to employee safety and minimizes the risk of government enforcement actions, workers’ compensation claims, and employment litigation.
States Requiring COVID-19 Prevention Plans
California, New York, Oregon, and Virginia require employers to develop and implement COVID-19 prevention plans. The requirements for these plans are outlined below.
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