New Workplace Safety Standards for Loudoun Businesses

A person wearing a face mask sits in front of a computer in an office setting.

Across the Commonwealth of Virginia, new workplace safety standards go into effect on Monday, July 27, 2020.

The emergency temporary standard, which was signed into law earlier this month, establishes requirements for employers to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Mandatory requirements for all employers include:

  • Exposure assessment and determination, notification requirements, and employee access to exposure and medical records.
  • Development and implementation of policies and procedures for employees known or suspected to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus to return to work using either a symptom-based or test-based strategy.
  • Ensuring that employees observe physical distancing while on the job and during paid breaks on the employer’s property.
  • Closing or controlling access to common areas, breakrooms, or lunchrooms.
  • Ensuring compliance with respiratory protection and personal protective equipment standards applicable to the employer’s industry when multiple employees are occupying a vehicle for work purposes.
  • Ensuring compliance with mandatory requirements of any applicable Virginia executive order or order of public health emergency.
  • Where the nature of an employee’s work or the work area does not allow the employee to observe physical distancing requirements, employers shall ensure compliance with respiratory protection and personal protective equipment standards applicable to its industry.
  • Compliance with the VOSH sanitation and hazard communication standards applicable to the employer’s industry.
  • Employees that interact with other persons shall be provided with and immediately use supplies to clean and disinfectant surfaces contacted during the interaction where there is the potential for exposure.

Additional requirements exist for employers if hazards and job tasks are classified as medium, high, or very high exposure risk. These businesses must provide training programs on the hazards and characteristics of COVID-19 and the virus that causes it, effective August 26, 2020. If an exposure risk is high or very high, employers are also required to develop and implement a written Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan, and provide training on that effective September 25, 2020.

Virginia Department of Labor and Industry defines each risk level category and the associated new requirements here: 16VAC25-220, Emergency Temporary Standard.

Details on the related meetings and adoption of the standards can also be found on the DOLI website.

Full Text: Emergency Temporary Standard