COVID-19 TASK FORCE

As employers around the country grapple with the employment law and workplace safety implications of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, "COVID-19," Conn Maciel Carey has formed a multi-disciplinary legal and regulatory task force comprised of our dedicated Workplace Safety, Labor and Employment Law, and Litigation attorneys to help our clients across all industries manage the multitude of pandemic-related issues employers are facing and prepare for potential litigation that is around the corner.  We have produced a comprehensive database of resources to guide employers through this uncharted territory and the unique workplace challenges presented by the presence of a new health hazard in our nation's workplaces.

Members of CMC's COVID-19 Task Force
LABOR • EMPLOYMENT
LITIGATION
WORKPLACE SAFETY
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Range of Work

Our COVID-19 Task Force has spent the last few months working with our clients to:

  • Develop effective and compliant COVID-19 Exposure Control and Response Plans;

  • Evaluate and implement Pre-Work Health Screening Protocols;

  • Conduct COVID-19-specific PPE Hazard Assessments;

  • Prepare new Telework Policies/Agreements;

  • Respond to countless OSHA Notices of Alleged Hazards (employee complaints), Rapid Response Investigation Requests after reported COVID-19 deaths or hospitalizations, and 11(c) Retaliation Complaints;

  • Make recordkeeping and reporting work-relatedness determinations;

  • Manage COVID-19 enforcement inspections by OSHA and departments of health;

  • Provide advice and counsel about the ever-changing OSHA and CDC Guidance and the multitude of Orders and guidance from Governors and State and Local Health Department Orders;

  • Prepare their workplaces to reopen; and

  • Address the endless stream of novel questions and challenges employers are facing during this unprecedented pandemic.

COVID-19 FAQs for Employers
As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to evolve, we have created an extensive index
of frequently asked questions about HR, employment, and MSHA/OSHA related
regulatory developments and guidance from federal agencies and the CDC. Conn
Maciel Carey's COVID-19 Task Force will be updating our list of FAQs frequently,
but please reach out to us for the most up to date information. 
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COVID-19 OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Resource Guide
 
CMC’s COVID-19 Task Force has prepared a series of resources to assist employers in
assessing whether a COVID-19 diagnosis for one of its employees is reportable to OSHA
and/or recordable on the company’s OSHA 300 Log, and if so, “how to” record it on the
log.  The toolkit includes a COVID-19 OSHA Reporting Flow Chart, a COVID-19 OSHA
Recording Flow Chart, a one-pager on “How to record” COVID-19 cases on the log, and
a detailed “Work-Relatedness Questionnaire.”  For more information about the OSHA
recordkeeping and reporting implications of COVID-19, read this detailed article
COVID-19 Recordkeeping Flowchart Capture
COVID-19 Exposure Control and Response Plan
Many states and localities are setting as a precondition for businesses to reopen, a requirement that they develop and implement a written, site-specific COVID-19 Exposure Control and Response Plan.  Regardless of any such requirements, any business that operates without a written Exposure Control Plan is setting itself to face citations from OSHA, shutdowns by local authorities, employee refusals to work, complaints to OSHA, retaliation claims, as well as lawsuits for wrongful death by the families of employees, customers, and guests.

So what is an Exposure Control Plan and what should be included in an effective one?  When OSHA identifies a serious safety or health hazard, it usually requires employers to develop a written program including the measures employers will take to counteract the hazard.   A COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan is a written safety plan outlining how your workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19, covering issues such as:

  • Social distancing strategies, and engineering or administrative controls where workers cannot maintain social distancing

  • Personal hygiene practices and requirements

  • Protective equipment you will require for various tasks

  • Enhanced housekeeping protocols

  • Health screening strategies to keep sick workers home

  • Responses to confirmed cases among your workforce

  • Communication plans for employees and customers

Read this full client alert for a review of the five key reasons employers must develop a written COVID-19 Exposure Control and Response Plan, and what an effective Exposure Control Plan should include.
 
As a boutique law firm focused on Workplace Safety and Labor & Employment Law, Conn Maciel Carey is perfectly positioned to help develop effective and compliant written COVID-19 Exposure Control and Response Plans.  If you would like help developing your plan (or reviewing your current plan), contact any of the attorneys at Conn Maciel Carey.
Latest COVID-19 News
Webinar Recordings

Technology Solutions for Complying with COVID-19 Requirements

Co-Presented by Eric J. Conn (Conn Maciel Carey LLP) and Nick Eurek (Maptician)

In July, Virginia became the first state in the nation to promulgate a mandatory rule designed to reduce COVID-19 infections in the workplace. Virginia’s rule memorializes otherwise recognized and enforceable guidance from federal OSHA, the CDC, state and local departments of health, and governors’ offices all across the country, so the policies and controls that must be implemented there are mostly needed everywhere. Specifically, employers are required to:

• Assess and categorize potential exposures to COVID-19 in the workplace
• Implement a written infection control and response plan
• Promptly notify potentially exposed co-workers, VOSH/OSHA, and/or the Depart. of Health about infected workers

The core element of employers’ infection control strategies are the engineering, administrative, and safe work practice controls to enhance physical distancing (e.g., reconfiguring work stations, tracking where/when employees move throughout the workplace, thoughtful scheduling strategies like cohorting, staggering start/end/break times, etc.), conducting pre-work health screenings, and promptly contact tracing to facilitate notifications to potentially exposed employees. As is America’s way, innovators are developing technology solutions to aid in implementing these infection control strategies. A special guest from the innovative technology provider Maptician will identify technology solutions they have developed to assist employers in meeting these new regulatory requirements.

 

Participants in this webinar learned:

• Background about VOSH’s COVID-19 Standard and related OSHA and CDC guidance
• What to include in an effective Infection Control Plan
• Technology solution for key infection control strategies

Everything You Need to Know About Virginia OSHA’s New COVID-19 Standard

Presented by Eric Conn, Chair of Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice, Susan Wilcox, a CIH and CSP with Safety Resource Associates, and special guest Jennifer Rose, VOSH Cooperative Programs Director with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

 

Last week, Virginia became the first state in the nation to promulgate a mandatory safety regulation designed to reduce COVID-19 infections in the workplace, when Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam announced the commonwealth’s adoption of an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”). The COVID-19 ETS, which was drafted by Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry, requires Virginia employers to:

  • Assess potential exposures to COVID-19 in the workplace

  • Categorize the level of risk of exposure from Low to Very High (each with different mitigation requirements)

  • Develop and implement a written infection control plan

  • Provide employee training on the virus and control measures in the workplace

  • Make certain notifications about infected employees to co-workers, to VOSH, and to the VA Dept. of Health

 

VOSH’s COVID-19 ETS will go into effect after it is published in a newspaper of general circulation in Richmond, VA, which is expected to occur the week of July 27th. Virginia companies could face penalties ranging from approx. $13,000 up to $130,000 for each violation of the new rule.

 

Participants in this webinar learned:

  • Background about VOSH’s COVID-19 Standard

  • What VOSH’s COVID-19 ETS requires

  • What to include in your Infection Control Plan

  • Requirements for training, face masks, sanitation, and notifications about infected employees

  • Timelines and deadlines in VOSH’s new rule

Returning to Work During COVID-19 and Avoiding OSHA Compliance Pitfalls

While the world still wrestles COVID-19, and the United States is experiencing spikes in throughout most states cases, a renewed focus a businesses’ adherences to safety procedures in the workplace is crucial. Additionally, the spike is leading to increased pressure for regulators to get more aggressive on the national, state, and local level to being enforcement in earnest on employers who are not employing safe and compliant return to work practices. 

In this session, Conn Maciel Carey LLP partners Kathryn McMahon and Nick Scala, provided insight and advice on the OSHA workplace safety and health implications of COVID-19 and best practices for companies returning to work and/or continuing to operate during the pandemic, such as:
 

  • What is an exposure control plan and why does every employer need one?

  • How will OSHA enforce their expectations relative to COVID-19 as well as other safety and health standards during this pandemic?

  • When and how should employers report and record confirmed COVID-19 cases on their OSHA 300 logs?

  • What do employers need to know about face coverings, respirators and other forms of protective equipment?

  • Which OSHA standards are most likely to be violated by employers while attempting to protect their workforce?

  • Have OSHA relaxed enforcement of certain standards, and if so, what are the implications?

Process Safety During COVID-19 Webinar

AcuTech held a free webinar to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on process safety management and risk management. See a recorded video of the webinar below.


Topics included:

  • Discussion on how process safety is being affected

  • Challenges for compliance to OSHA PSM and EPA RMP

  • Process safety management during “back to work”

  • Legal ramifications of COVID-19 to OSHA and EPA compliance

  • Practical guidance to manage these issues

NGFA and Grain Journal hosted a webinar focused on the implications of COVID-19 for the grain, feed, processing and export industry. Featuring Eric J. Conn, chair of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) practice group at Conn Maciel Carey LLP, the webinar examined the workplace safety implications of OSHA’s recently issued “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” which defines risk categories and provides recommendations on how to protect employees. Conn is a widely recognized and respected expert on OSHA and safety and health matters.

Participants learned about the following:

 

  • OSHA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other guidance for managing infection control in the workplace generally;

  • Regulatory issues and best practices associated with voluntary and mandatory use of respirators or other face coverings;

  • Illness recording/reporting issues; and

  • How to respond to employee or OSHA complaints.

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