The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has released Interim Guidance for Protecting Health Care Workers from Exposure to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This guidance pertains to “health care facilities, laboratories, public health services, police services and other locations where employees are reasonably anticipated to be exposed to confirmed or suspected cases of aerosol transmissible diseases.”
On February 2, 2020, the United States joined a growing list of countries that have implemented travel restrictions for those at risk of transmitting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Recent fast-paced developments, increasing employee apprehensions, and uncertainty regarding the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV have left employers and employees with some concerns. We recently discussed the emergence of the coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, and the first confirmed cases in the United States, which were deemed to be travel related and acquired by individuals traveling from China.
As the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak continues to develop, a number of workplace issues have arisen, including issues of quarantine, medical testing, and pay, and proactive employers are taking steps to protect and educate their employees.
As the world responds to the accelerating 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak originating in Wuhan, China—a situation now declared by the World Health Organization to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern—multinational employers, particularly those with employees based in or traveling to China, are assessing their role in managing workforce impact. In addition to taking precautions to prevent the spread of illness, employers are contending with government-imposed travel shutdowns and advisories, quarantines, border screenings, and extended holidays that may affect local operations and global mobility.
Coronavirus strain 2019-nCoV has reached the United States.
Employers with employees traveling to and from China may want to take note that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on January 21, 2020, that the United States had confirmed its first case of a new strain of the coronavirus that appeared in Wuhan, China, last month. The virus has already sickened hundreds of people and is reported to have killed six, according to Chinese authorities.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board continues to have a multitude of draft regulations on its plate for this coming year. Employers and trade groups will have the opportunity to influence California’s new workplace safety regulations at the advisory committee level and by attending the monthly Standards Board meetings, which will occur throughout the state. Here we highlight some of the most critical updates for California employers.
Florida’s 2020 legislative session convened today in Tallahassee. This session will be one to watch, as over 20 workplace-related bills have already been filed, covering such topics as discrimination and retaliation, minimum wage and overtime pay, pre-employment verification and background screening, reemployment assistance, tax credits and refunds, job relocation, job protections for medical marijuana users, paid family leave, and heat illness prevention.
On January 9, 2020, the U.S. Senate confirmed by voice vote both of President Donald Trump’s nominees to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). Cynthia L. Attwood was first to be confirmed, followed shortly thereafter by Amanda Wood Laihow. The confirmations come as no surprise, as the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions unanimously approved both candidates on December 3, 2019.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released an updated National Emphasis Program (NEP) to focus enforcement efforts on amputation hazards in manufacturing industries. It replaces the previous NEP, released in August 2015, which had expired on September 30, 2019. The new NEP will expire on December 10, 2024.
On December 3, 2019, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) unanimously approved President Donald Trump’s two nominees to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
On November 21, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution (HR) 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, in a 251-158 vote.
The California wildfire smoke regulation, an emergency regulation that took effect on July 30, 2019, is scheduled to become permanent on January 28, 2020. In the wake of the wildfires that have emerged throughout California, employers may want to become familiar with the regulation’s requirements.
On October 15, 2019, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Cynthia L. Attwood to serve as a commissioner on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC).
On October 9, 2019, President Donald Trump announced his intention to appoint Amanda Wood Laihow to serve as the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission’s (OSHRC) second commissioner. That addition will give the commission its first quorum in five months and enable it to decide the cases pending before it.
On July 30, 2019, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) announced that its “emergency regulation requiring employers to protect workers from hazards associated with wildfire smoke is now in effect, following its approval yesterday by the [California] Office of Administrative Law.”
The Florida legislature recently amended the “Indoor Air: Tobacco Smoke” Act, §386.202 of the Florida Statutes, to restrict indoor vaping in addition to tobacco smoking in enclosed spaces. The amended act is now known as the “Indoor Air: Smoking and Vaping” Act. The new law went into effect on July 1, 2019.
A hot-button issue in California is whether an employer is required to pay for or reimburse an employee for shoes that are required as a condition of employment. A recent ruling by the California Court of Appeal highlights the complexity of the issue and lack of concrete guidance on a critical question: whether California workplace safety law requires an employer to pay for nonspecialty safety shoes, such as generic steel-toe boots, that the employer allows the employee to wear off the jobsite.
Employers consider many factors when choosing whether to challenge investigatory subpoenas. They now have an additional consideration: whether a court might grant the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) more time to issue a citation if the employer challenges a subpoena.
On May 17, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 880 individual cases of measles had been confirmed in 23 states across the country in 2019. According to the CDC, the current outbreak of measles represents the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1994 and since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.
Scott A. Mugno, President Trump’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, withdrew his name from consideration in a letter submitted on May 14, 2019, to the White House and to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.
On April 18, 2019, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will consider an update to the regulations governing nighttime agriculture operations at its monthly meeting. In 2013, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (or Cal/OSHA) asked for a revised regulation because of prior accidents or fatalities that occurred during the darkness of nighttime agriculture operations.
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission is back in business as it will soon have a quorum again to decide cases. The Commission plays an important role in mine safety and health law. The Commission establishes precedential case law when it decides appeals of administrative law judge decisions in Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) cases, including citation contests and discrimination cases.
On February 27, 2019, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing on House Resolution 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, introduced by Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT).
The year 2018 saw the issuance of several noteworthy federal workplace safety and health decisions.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government agency responsible for enforcing the whistleblower retaliation provisions of numerous laws protecting workers in a wide-range of industries.
On January 25, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published in the Federal Register its revisions to its electronic recordkeeping rules.
Here are a few of the recent developments affecting workplace safety and health law in California.
With flu season here and reported incidents of deaths caused by diseases thought to have been eradicated by vaccines on the rise, many healthcare providers are considering mandatory vaccination of employees.