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. 
CV-19 Button (003).PNG
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

Bonus Webinar: A Conversation with the Director of NIOSH about COVID-19 in the Workplace

December 2020

Kate McMahon, a Partner in Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice, and special guest Dr. John Howard, the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), presented a one-on-one Q&A event regarding COVID-19 in the workplace.

Cases continue to spike throughout the United States, while employers try to keep pace with ever-shifting guidance from the CDC, OSHA, and state and county health departments, and face several new COVID-19 emergency regulations around the country. NIOSH works closely with the CDC to develop its COVID-19 guidance and to help educate Industry on effective infection control and response strategies. NIOSH also provides support to the White House Coronavirus Taskforce and assists states and local health departments develop effect strategies and policy to address COVID-19 in the workplace.

Through this Q&A session, Dr. John Howard, the Director of NIOSH for 17 years and counting, provided detailed insight and advice on the workplace safety and health implications of COVID-19 and what employers can expect next and how they can protect their workers from this pandemic. Participants in this webinar learned:

• CDC developments and guidance about COVID-19
• Expectations about OSHA and COVID-19 enforcement policy under a Biden Administration
• The latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccine and more!

Lessons Learned from the Roll-out of Virginia OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Standard

December 2020

Presented by Conn Maciel Carey and Safety Resource Associates, with Special Guest from VOSHJoin us for a webinar regarding “Lessons Learned from the Roll-out of 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.

Earlier this Summer, 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 went to effect on July 27th, with major elements of the rule kicking in in August and September. 

 

Now, several months into implementation of the COVID-19-specific regulation, we check on the status of the rule, challenges employers have faced complying with it, and enforcement issues. Participants in this webinar learned:

  • Background about VOSH’s COVID-19 Standard

  • What to include in your required Infection Control Plan

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

  • Compliance challenges employers have faced

  • Enforcement trends and forecasts

Also, during the webinar, we collected numerous questions from the audience, and in collaboration prepared the written Q&A linked here

Michigan OSHA’s New COVID-19 Emergency Rule

October 2020

When the MI Supreme Court struck down Gov. Whitmer’s COVID-19 Executive Orders, MI OSHA responded quickly to fill the void, and last week issued a series of COVID-19 Emergency Regulations. When Gov. Whitmer signed the “Emergency Rules Order,” Michigan became only the second state in the country with a set of enforceable, COVID-19 specific regulations. While many of the requirements set forth in the new rules mirror the Governor’s prior EOs, having a prescriptive rule in place makes it that much easier for MI OSHA to issue citations to employers.

Given MI OSHA’s aggressive use of the General Duty Clause to support a series of citations after an inspection blitz over the summer, Michigan employers should expect enforcement to continue in a similar manner, making compliance with these rules all the more important.  Participants in this webinar learned about the requirements of MIOSHA’s COVID-19 emergency rules and steps to take to avoid citations, including:

 

  • Conducting COVID-19 hazard assessments

  • Developing and implementing a written exposure preparedness and response plan

  • Adopting workplace controls and safe work practices

  • Training for employees

  • Recordkeeping requirements

Technology Solutions for Complying with COVID-19 Requirements

September 2020

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

August 2020

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

July 2020

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?

NGFA Webinar: OSHA Guidance and Workplace Health and Safety Issues

May 2020

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.

Returning to Work Strategies: Employment & Workplace Safety Implications of COVID-19

May 2020

As the federal government and states begin to relax shutdown and stay-at-home orders and non-essential businesses begin to resume or ramp-up operations, employers need to plan for the safe and healthy return of their employees, customers, and guests back into the workplace.  During this webinar, participants heard from members of Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Task Force as they discussed how to develop and implement a Return-to-Work Plan.

Participants learned about the following:
 

  • How to recall furloughed employees to qualify for loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program

  • New federal paid leave laws and their application to employees returning from furlough

  • Navigating the FLSA requirements for exempt employees who may be performing non-exempt work as work ramps up

  • Preventing third-party interference from labor unions and organizing attempts

  • COVID-19 Infection/Exposure Control Plans

  • Pre-shift Health Screening Protocols and best practices (e.g., temperature checks and health/symptom questionnaires)

  • Effective engineering and administrative controls to mitigate potential exposures to COVID-19 in the workplace

  • Decisions about Personal Protective Equipment, Respirators, Face Masks, and Face Coverings

  • Recording and Reporting to OSHA and workforce about confirmed employee COVID-19 infections

  • “Lessons learned” from the first wave of COVID-19 furloughs and how to prepare for the potential second wave in the Fall

IMA Webinar: How Employers Can Respond to COVID-19 and Frequently Asked Questions

March 2020

There have been a number of significant developments related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus – now officially called “COVID-19.”  Today, the world health organization declared a global pandemic and there are over 1000 confirmed cases in the United States.  Participants in this webinar learned about recent developments and federal legal guidance including:

  • ​Strategies for employers to prevent workplace exposures while complying with Federal and State level labor employment laws

  • OSHA's guidance about preventing workers from exposure to COVID-19 and related regulatory risks

  • FAQs for employers with guidance from the CDC

Employment Law and Workplace Safety Implications of COVID-19 for Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries

March 2020

There have been a number of significant developments related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus – now officially called “COVID-19.” The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, President Trump initiated a National Emergency Order, and state and local officials have been ordering shutdowns of non-essential businesses and mandatory shelter-in-place orders. Furthermore, Congress passed emergency legislation that temporarily requires employers to provide paid sick and family leave and the Department of Labor has issued guidance on how employers should comply with employment and workplace safety laws.

Local craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries have been deemed essential businesses under current federal and state directives, such as Governor Hogan’s March 23, 2020 order, but the traditional way of doing business has changed considerably. These changes have raised numerous questions regarding how small businesses can successfully operate while complying with these new requirements.

Participants in this webinar learned about recent developments, new federal legislation, EEOC, CDC and OSHA guidance, including:

  • Federally required Paid Family Leave and Paid Sick Leave;

  • Strategies for employers to prevent workplace exposures while complying with Federal and State labor and employment laws;

  • OSHA's guidance about preventing workers from exposure to COVID-19 and related regulatory risks;

  • FAQs for employers about managing the Coronavirus crisis in the workplace;

  • Federal and state orders concerning essential businesses and financial assistance; and

  • Tips to maintain a thriving brewery, distillery, or winery while shifting business models.

Bonus Webinar: How Employers Can Respond to COVID-19 and Frequently Asked Questions

March 2020

There have been a number of significant developments related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus – now officially called “COVID-19.”  Today, the world health organization declared a global pandemic and there are over 1000 confirmed cases in the United States.  Participants in this webinar learned about recent developments and federal legal guidance including:

  • ​Strategies for employers to prevent workplace exposures while complying with Federal and State level labor employment laws

  • OSHA's guidance about preventing workers from exposure to COVID-19 and related regulatory risks

  • FAQs for employers with guidance from the CDC

Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace: Paid Leave and Other FAQs

March 2020

There have been a number of significant developments related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus – now officially called “COVID-19.” The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic, there are over 40,000 confirmed cases in the United States, and states and local jurisdictions are taking action ranging from limiting large gatherings, to shuttering non-essential businesses and ordering a shelter-in-place.

 

Participants in this webinar will learn about recent developments, new federal legislation, and CDC and OSHA guidance including:

  • ​Federally required Paid Family Leave and Paid Sick Leave

  • Strategies for employers to prevent workplace exposures while complying with Federal and State labor and employment laws 

  • OSHA's guidance about preventing workers from exposure to COVID-19 and related regulatory risks

  • FAQs for employers about managing the Coronavirus crisis in the workplace

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