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
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.

OSHA's COVID-19 Vaccine-Mandate Emergency Rulemaking

 

On September 9, 2021, President Biden charged federal OSHA with developing a second emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring all but small employers in all industries but healthcare to implement “soft” vaccine mandates, i.e., to require employees to either be fully vaccinated or get weekly COVID-19 testing.  The President directed OSHA to include in this new ETS a requirement that these employers provide paid time for employees to get vaccinated and recover from the vaccine.  The President also issued executive orders mandating federal contractors and healthcare employers implement “hard” vaccine mandates.

To help our clients and friends in industry prepare for and navigate this emergency rulemaking, we have developed:

COVID-19 OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Resource Guide for Non-Healthcare Employees
 
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
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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.
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