COVID-19 Safe Workplace training

All COVID-19 Training Requirements

COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training

15 states currently require employers to provide COVID-19 workplace safety training to employees. This article provides the state-specific orders, guidelines, and regulations that mandate COVID-19 employee training. The article also summarizes OSHA’s updated COVID-19 workplace guidance and expected Emergency Temporary Standard, which will likely require training nationwide once issued.

Experts Expect OSHA to Require COVID-19 Safety Training Soon

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 their 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 “educate and train workers” on numerous COVID-19 safe work practices. While COVID-19 training is not yet expressly required, industry experts anticipate the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, if issued, will require COVID-19 workplace safety training.

Even if not required at the federal level, employers should provide all employees with COVID-19 workplace safety training. Under the Act’s “General Duty Clause,” employers must provide workers with a safe and healthy workplace. Employers can meet this requirement by, in part, training employees on COVID-19 safe work practices. Training employees on safe work practices also demonstrates an employer’s commitment to employee safety and minimizes the risk of government enforcement actions, workers’ compensation claims, and employment litigation.

Multiple States Already Require COVID-19 Safety Training

15 states already require employers to provide COVID-19 workplace safety training to employees. Those states include  CaliforniaIllinois, Kentucky, Maine (Several Industries), Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Many of these states also mandate the specific content that must be included in the employee training. As multiple employers have learned the hard way, states issue citations to employers who do not provide fully compliant COVID-19 workplace safety training.

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California

California employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards require employers to “provide effective training and instruction to employees” on specifically identified topics.

COVID-19 employee safety training is also required under Cal/OSHA guidance issued in May 2020. Cal/OSHA industry-specific guidance can also include additional training content requirements.

The Temporary Standards apply to “all employees and places of employment” except (1) places of employment with one employee who does not have contact with another person; (2) employees working from home; or (3) employees who are covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard (generally applicable to healthcare facilities).

Illinois

Illinois employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. Executive Order 2020-43 requires employers to comply with the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) reopening business guidelines. These guidelines instruct employers to provide COVID-19 workplace safety training.

DCEO’s Checklist for Employee Training: Phase 4 provides: “[a]ll workers must complete health and safety training related to COVID-19 when initially returning to work.”

Although several lawsuits have been filed challenging the Governor’s authority to issue COVID-19 orders, courts have largely held in favor of the Governor.

Kentucky

Kentucky employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training.  The Kentucky Healthy at Work Guidelines require businesses to meet certain “minimum requirements” before reopening, including employee training on “how to isolate individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19,” and “how to report possible cases.”

The education and training requirements must be communicated in the language best understood by the individual receiving the education and training. It must also be offered during scheduled work times at no cost to the employee. 

Maine

Maine employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. As part of Maine’s COVID-19 reopening plan, the Maine Department of Economic Development issued COVID-19 Prevention Checklists for Businesses that must be completed by certain businesses before reopening. Many of the Checklists mandate that“[i]n order to open, businesses must commit to complying with the requirements of these checklists by filling out [an] online form.”

The COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for Retail Businesses requires employers “to provide employee training” on various workplace safety measures, including social distancing, health monitoring, PPE, face coverings, and cleaning protocols. Maine also directs businesses in some industries to “consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.”

Upon completing the Checklist, businesses can post compliance badges on doors and websites to instill consumer confidence.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ employers must provide employees with COVID-19 safe workplace training. The state’s COVID-19 Workplace Safety Regulations require employers to “provide training for workers regarding COVID-19 safety” and specifies certain training topics. The state’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces reiterate the same employee training requirement.

These general safety standards are supplemented by sector-specific safety protocols and recommended best practices, requiring additional content training requirements. For example, the office safety standards require employers to provide “training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission.”

COVID-19 training must be documented and provided at no cost to the employee during working hours.

Michigan

Michigan employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has issued COVID-19 Emergency Rules implementing workplace safety requirements for businesses resuming in-person work, including employee training.

Employers must also provide updated training to employees when their COVID-19 preparedness and response plan changes or new information becomes available about the diagnosis or transmission of COVID-19. Employers must maintain training records for at least one year.

Young woman in yellow sweater taking Clear Law Institute's COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training

About Clear Law's COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training

Clear Law Institute’s COVID-19 Safe Workplace training is a 30-minute online course for employees returning to the workplace or employees who continued in-person work during COVID-19. Our workplace safety training is compliant with COVID-19 guidance from OSHA, CDC, and all 50 states.

Our online training is compliant with COVID-19 training requirements in California, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Our Compliance Advisory Team regularly monitors federal and state orders, rules, and guidelines and updates the training as needed. 

Contact us for a FREE TRIAL of online COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training.

Minnesota

Minnesota employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. Executive Order 21-11 directs employers to provide COVID-19 training to employees. Minnesota’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Requirements – General Guidance further clarifies that “businesses and entities must train all workers, including management, on COVID-19 transmission, risks, and symptoms.”

Employers must also train all workers on their COVID-19 Preparedness Plan so that “all workers understand and are capable to perform the precautions necessary to protect themselves and their co-workers.”

COVID-19 training must be paid for by the employer and provided in a manner and language that workers can understand. 

New Hampshire

New Hampshire employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. New Hampshire’s COVID -19 Reopening Guidance – Universal Guidelines require employers to “provide employees . . . with training on the Universal Guidelines, industry-specific guidance, and any applicable guidance identified . . ..” 

Retail employers must also train employees on the use of cloth face coverings per CDC guidelines and provide “regular updates and training” for employees about personal COVID-19 mitigation and store safeguards based on CDC guidelines.

New Mexico

New Mexico employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. New Mexico’s COVID-19 Safe Practices for All Employers requires employers to “[t]rain all employees on daily cleaning and disinfecting protocol, hygiene, and respiratory etiquette (e.g., covering coughs).” 

New York

New York State requires COVID-19 safe workplace training for some industries. For example, New York State Reopening Guidelines for Offices and Retail require businesses to “train all personnel on the new protocols and frequently communicate safety guidelines.” 

Oregon

Oregon employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. Oregon OSHA adopted a Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks, which requires nearly all employers to provide COVID-19 workplace safety training. 

The training may be provided remotely or using computer-based models but must be provided in a manner and language understood by employees. Employers must also ensure “the training provides an opportunity for feedback from employees about the topics covered in the training.”

Rhode Island

Rhode Island employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. The Rhode Island Department of Health adopted a COVID-19 Emergency Rule, which requires employers to have “procedures for all employees to be trained to follow the standards and requirements of these regulations and procedures for new employees to be trained as they are hired.”

Vermont

Vermont employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. Executive Order 01-20, Addendum 11 requires employers to provide “training on mandatory health and safety requirements as provided by VOSHA, or another training program that meets or exceeds the VOSHA-provided standard.” Employers must also maintain records of the employee training. 

Virginia

Certain Virginia employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. The Virginia Standard For Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19, 16 VAC 25-22 requires employers to provide COVID-19 safety training to all employees when any job hazard or task in the workplace is classified above “lower risk” exposure.

All “lower risk” places of employment must provide employees with basic written or oral information on COVID-19 hazards and measures to minimize exposure. Providing the training required for job hazards or tasks otherwise classified as higher risk also meets this requirement. 

Employers must maintain written certification for each employee trained, including employee name and physical or electronic signature, the training date, and the name of the person or entity that conducted or prepared the training materials. 

Retraining is required when (1) the employer has reason to believe that any affected employee who has already been trained does not have the necessary understanding and skill required, such as changes in the workplace or job tasks performed, (2) there are changes to the employer’s Infectious Disease and Preparedness Plan, or (3) inadequacies in an affected employee’s knowledge or use of workplace control measures indicate the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.

Washington

Washington employers are required to provide COVID-19 safe workplace training. The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), COVID-19 Prevention in the Workplace Guidelines require employers to provide “basic workplace hazard education about the coronavirus . . . to employees in a language they best understand.”

Proclamation 20-25.8 requires employers to comply with L&I guidance and COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers

Why Clear Law Institute?

Clear Law Institute’s online COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training complies with all state training mandates, CDC and OSHA guidelines, as well as industry best practices. The online training is self-paced, fully narrated, and includes numerous interactive animations, video demonstrations, and exercises to keep employees engaged. 

Clear Law Institute provides online training to over 1,000 employers, handles training roll-out to employees, supports tech issues, and tracks course completions.

Contact us for a FREE TRIAL of online COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training.

Black man using laptop to take Clear Law Institute's COVID-19 Safe Workplace Training


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