As states across the country begin to loosen or lift stay-at-home and shutdown orders, many workplaces that had been idled, have just begun to or will soon resume operations.
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.
For example, OSHA requires written lockout/tagout programs to protect against hazardous energy, respiratory protection programs or process safety management programs to protect against hazardous chemicals.
Simply put, 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 specialty 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.