Category Archives: Workplace Safety & OSHA

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Dealing with the Monkeypox Virus at Work

Just as employers have figured out how to navigate the COVID-19 virus, the next one is poised to take hold – the monkeypox virus. Now declared a global and national public health emergency by the World Health Organization and the U.S., the monkeypox virus continues to spread with almost 10,000 cases in the U.S. and … Continue Reading

Keep Cool: OSHA Targeting Heat-Related Injuries in the Workplace

Last year was the deadliest weather year in a decade for the contiguous United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and climatologists predict that 2022 will be the hottest year on record. Employers should pay particular attention as we head into summer. With heat already being the leading cause of death among … Continue Reading

Work From Home – SOS! Post-Pandemic Legal Hazards

The pandemic has revolutionized the workplaces and remote workforces will almost certainly survive the end of the pandemic. A Gallup poll last fall indicated that 61 percent of workers expect to work remotely at least part of the time in the future, and just 9 percent expect to work from home only minimally or not … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare but Blocks Vaccine-Or-Test Rule for Large Private Businesses

On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court prevented President Biden’s vaccination or testing mandate for large employers (issued as an OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)) from being enforced.  The Court allowed the vaccine mandate for certain healthcare workers issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to go into effect nationwide, initially … Continue Reading

Avoid Possible Tragedy In The Future By Preparing For Disasters And Emergencies Now

The series of tornadoes that ripped through parts of the county last month serves as a potent reminder to employers: having a disaster plan and preparedness training is important. In Illinois, six warehouse workers were killed when the roof collapsed at a distribution center during a tornado and workers from neighboring distribution facilities complained that they … Continue Reading

Biden Administration Unveils Long-Awaited COVID-19 Rules For Large Employers and Healthcare Workers

The wait is over for employers seeking clarity on the details of the Biden Administration’s vaccine and testing rules for private employers, first announced by President Biden in early September and now slated to take effect in part by an initial compliance date of December 6, 2021, with remaining requirements effective alongside federal contractor vaccine … Continue Reading

Increased OSHA Activity Should Serve as a Warning to Employers: Adopt Safety Policies AND Enforce Them

OSHA has put employers on notice that they cannot succumb to COVID-19 burnout, and must remain vigilant when it comes to worker safety protocol. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recently increased the issuance of citations against employers for failing to following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Employers should be aware of … Continue Reading

Objections to COVID-Testing and Asking Vax Status Up Front: Best Practices

Employers are being inundated with employee requests for exemptions, not just from mandatory vaccination policies, but also from policies requiring regular COVID-19 testing. How do employers square their duty to provide a safe workplace with the duty to try to accommodate employees who refuse even to be tested? And can they avoid some of the … Continue Reading

Federal Contractors Face Dec. 8 Vaccination Deadline

Federal contractors covered by President Biden’s recent Executive Order 14042 must ensure that covered employees are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 no later than December 8, 2021, subject to applicable exceptions, pursuant to new Guidance published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force). The Guidance was issued pursuant to President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan … Continue Reading

Broad Vaccine Mandates Ahead

Private employers with 100 or more employees will be required to ensure their employees are either “fully vaccinated” or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week, under President Biden’s new six-prong COVID-19 Action Plan (the “Plan”) announced September 9, 2021. The Plan also includes vaccination requirements for employees of healthcare … Continue Reading

No Vaccination, No Service For Indoor Dining, Entertainment, and Fitness in NYC

Enforcement begins soon of New York City’s new executive order requiring certain indoor establishments to verify that staff and patrons have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before entering the establishment. The executive order took effect on August 17 and inspectors will begin enforcing its requirements until September 13. This mandate is … Continue Reading

OSHA Encourages Employers to Mandate Vaccines or Regular Testing

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recommended employers either require vaccination or regular COVID testing, in addition to mask wearing and physical distancing in updated guidance issued on August 13, 2021. With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission affirming that employers can mandate vaccines subject to certain exceptions, and the Department of Justice chiming … Continue Reading

Be Careful About Restricting Employee Communications with Media

Employers that bar staff from communicating with the media should take another look at those prohibitions, following a recent federal appellate decision finding such a policy unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). An employee’s critical letter to the editor might be embarrassing, but taking action against the author for writing it may be … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Standard for Healthcare Employers

OSHA has issued a 916-page COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) setting forth a myriad of requirements for covered healthcare entities, including implementation of a comprehensive COVID-19 plan identifying and addressing hazards, patient screening and management protocols and transmission-based precautions, protocols for providing and requiring use of personal protective equipment (PPE), aerosol-generating procedure controls, requirements … Continue Reading

New Federal Guidance: Employers May Offer Incentives for Vaccination

An employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community, according to new guidance issued by the EEOC on May 28, 2021.… Continue Reading

NY Employers: Note New NY COVID-19 Guidance

With the COVID-19 landscape in New York changing rapidly, employers may be understandably confused about what rules to abide by when it comes to things like masks, social distancing, and safety protocols. Significant changes may be on the horizon, but employers should not pull the trigger on any sweeping changes to their policies just yet. … Continue Reading

What the CDC’s New Guidance on Fully Vaccinated Individuals Means for Employers

With the CDC’s May 13 announcement lifting the mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals in most non-healthcare settings, many Americans are excited at the thought of a return to normalcy. However, employers should consider these questions before lifting their own mask requirements for workers who are fully vaccinated.… Continue Reading

Weed and the Workplace: Recent Developments in New York, Virginia, and Colorado

Employers take note: recently New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use through Senate Bill 854A, and Virginia is not far behind. These and other developments related to marijuana continue to impact the workplace.… Continue Reading

Mandatory Versus Voluntary Vaccinations: An Employer Guide

With COVID-19 vaccines now available to every adult in the United States, employers are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel after a year of uncertainty. But for employers whose workforces spent a year away from the office, a safe return to normalcy presents new legal, practical, and ethical questions.… Continue Reading

Considering Incentives for Employee COVID-19 Vaccines – Tips and Traps

This blog was based on guidance which is now outdated. An employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community, according to new guidance issued by the EEOC … Continue Reading

Facing Exposure: Dealing with Mask Refusers in the Workplace

As various states (Texas, Mississippi, Montana, Iowa, and many more) have done away with mask mandates and as vaccinations become more widely disseminated amongst the general population, many individuals may be emboldened to throw their face coverings in the trash and never look back. However, employers may be hesitant to lift mask requirements and other … Continue Reading

Be Prepared For Increase In COVID-19 Inspections Under OSHA’s New National Emphasis Program

On March 12, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) designed to significantly reduce worker exposure to COVID-19 by targeting industries and worksites where employees may have a high frequency of close-contact exposures. The new NEP on COVID-19 has two main components:… Continue Reading

Do the Business Liability Shield Laws Give Employers Immunity From COVID-19 Lawsuits

Not really. Like the COVID-19 vaccines, these “business liability shields” may provide a layer of protection for some employers, but they in no way guarantee immunity from lawsuits. Since early last year, business leaders expressed concerns about continuing with operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic—mainly because they feared exposing their businesses to lawsuits arising from the … Continue Reading
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