Coming Down the Pipeline: More COVID-specific Workplace Rules to be Adopted by States
Virginia became the first state to adopt coronavirus workplace safety rules following a series of complaints from labor groups about worker conditions. With only 21 days to implement these new rules that come with steep fines for violations, it’s critical for business leaders around the country to begin looking at these safety measures and implementing them into their plans for reopening. Oregon, it seems, is poised to also follow suit.
One thing thing is for sure: more states will follow their lead in taking these measures and mandating precautions aimed at preventing the spread of the virus and protecting workers in doing so. Since the federal body charged with upholding workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has not pushed to enforce the guidance they’ve put forth, many states will continue to take it upon themselves to invoke their own regulations through statewide departments of labor.
There are a couple of safety requirements that organizations should pay special attention to and venture to enlist the help of professionals to help guide the process:
- Supply chain: Locating sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies aimed at properly sanitizing workplaces can be challenging. In the last couple of weeks, there have been numerous recalls for hand sanitizers that are dangerous, calling attention to the need for sourcing materials that are safe.
- Infection Identification: Under the new regulations, businesses must prohibit workers suspected of having the coronavirus from showing up to work, which means implementing processes alongside human resources aimed at protecting the broader workforce.
- Mass Communications: The new Virginia mandates require companies to notify workers of possible exposure to infected co-workers within 24 hours, which can be a daunting task for organizations. This challenge can be addressed using advanced technology including mass communications tools to help streamline the process.
- Mandating Best Practices: Sanitation, disinfecting and hand-washing mandates are all rooted in establishing protocols for operating procedures, which can be made easier by working with an organization that can write these rules and communicate to the broader workforce through training, which in some cases may be required.
While the Virginia mandate doesn’t require employers to contact trace in name, the notification policy would indicate that they are essentially performing a similar function.
Organizations can look to implement these programs internally, but outsourcing may be a more cost-effective and timely option to comply and help slow the spread. RAS Watch uses software technologies to streamline this process, as well as maintain compliance with relevant government-issued regulations.
RAS Watch and its sister company, RAS Consulting & Investigations, can also work with business to help gain and maintain compliance with new mandates as well as best practices. For more information, contact us here.