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UPDATE: First State Coronavirus Workplace Safety Regs Passed in Virginia

Posted on July 27, 2020 by Lauren Scott

UPDATE: On July 15, the Virginia Safety and Health Code Board passed the Emergency Temporary Standard, Infectious Disease Prevention, to take effect July 27, 2020.

Most Virginia employers are now required to provide employees with job-specific education and training on preventing transmission of COVID-19. According to a news release from the State Department of Labor and Industry, training requirements in 16VAC25-220-80 take effect on August 26, 2020 (with the exception of 16VAC25-220-80.B.10 regarding training required on infectious disease preparedness and response plans), .

The training requirements under 16VAC25- 220-80.B.10 take effect on September 25, 2020. The requirements for 16VAC25-220-70 regarding the preparation of infectious disease preparedness and response plans take effect on September 25, 2020.

View the complete guidelines.


Original Article
The Virginia State Safety and Health Code Board has voted to create workplace safety regulations surrounding COVID-19, citing the thousands of comments received concerning social distancing and mask violations and a lack of Federal enforcement.

The board revealed the draft of State regulations at a virtual presentation on June 24 and approved advancing the regulations in a 9-3 vote. The emergency temporary standard was drafted by the state’s Department of Labor and Industry, under the Governor’s direction, in late May. The board is expected to amend and finalize the standard in the coming days.

The current draft of Virginia’s standard requires employers to develop policies for workers dealing with coronavirus-like symptoms, while prohibiting those workers suspected of having the coronavirus from showing up to work. According to the Washington Post, these rules would compel companies to alert workers of possible exposure to infected co-workers within 24 hours, while also mandating physical distancing, sanitation, disinfection, and hand-washing procedures.

When asked about the draft regulations, the Governor’s office cited a lack of Federal enforcement from OSHA. Most of OSHA’s coronavirus standards are guidelines, which carry fewer legal ramifications than Virginia’s standard. If enacted, employers who fail to comply with the draft rules could face up to $124,000 in fines and a potential business closure.  



Virginia’s Standard Faces Harsh Criticism

Many businesses and employer organizations issued concerns over the new draft rules, calling them “one size fits all” that do not work across all industries. Many businesses also said they were worried that the new rules could add a greater financial burden during an already economically strenuous time.

The poultry industry in particular played a central role in the discussions. The City of Harrisonburg pledged its support for the measure, citing over 300 poultry workers in the area contracting the virus. However, the Virginia Poultry Federation opposed the measures, noting that existing guidelines from the CDC and OSHA are sufficient.

Convenient, Online OSHA Safety Training

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