With some states restricting restrictions and others extending worm-bearing and other security protocols, patchwork of COVID-19 rules affecting workplaces poses challenges for companies with multistate operations, legal experts say.
For example, the Oregon Department of Occupational Safety and Health expanded its workplace safety rules, but California recently withdrew its quarantine requirements for vaccinated workers exposed to the virus.
The Florida Surgeon General on April 29 issued a statement that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors. . Some states such as Mississippi and Texas have scrapped the worm mandate altogether.
Nevertheless, the Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines, based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, still require indoor mask wear and tear, and OSHA is preparing to release a national temporary emergency standard that experts say can echo existing guidelines and impose fines on non-survivors employer.
Another question is employees who do not understand why the rules remain after they have been vaccinated, says Erik Eisenmann, Milwaukee-based partner and chairman of the work and employment group at Husch Blackwell LLP, who noted that questions about workers' safety protocols and vaccinations are among the most common.
"The protesting workers (masks) will only get louder," he said.
Todd B. Logsdon, Louisville, Kentucky-based partner and co-chair of the Fisher & Phillips LLP occupational safety team, said the issue has led to frustration, especially for employers working in multiple states.
"Some states have completely lifted all restrictions and other states still have a lot of their restrictions in place," he said, adding that the conflicting messages lead to moral issues among employees.
"I just got a call from a national client where the local municipality no longer requires masking in municipal buildings and leaves it up to private employers what they will do within municipal boundaries, and a lot of current employees are frustrated with the company because they continue to require employees to wear masks, "said Andrew Brought, an attorney at OSHA practice at Spencer Fane LLP in Kansas City, Missouri.
"But unfortunately until the CDC or OSHA provide guidance otherwise, in situations where employees are indoors without the ability to social distance and inability to confirm vaccination, OSHA's expectations would be that employees wear (personal protective equipment) in these circumstances. , "He said.
Eric Conn, founder of Washington, based partner of Conn Maciel Carey LLP, said that employers have reported that" the single biggest compliance challenge they have faced during this pandemic has been to try to follow it. impossible patchwork of competing and conflicting mandates from local and state health departments, governors' executive orders, permits (work environment), planning temporary emergencies and so on. "
" As a result, (employers) can not conduct uniform training, they can not use uniform registers and they experience great confusion for employees working across multiple locations, he said.
Mr. Eisenmann said he advises employers to choose the conservative approach: Keep national guidelines in place. "There is no legal risk for the employer to be more careful," he said. "If you really want to avoid scenarios that expose you to an OSHA violation or other risk, follow the CDC."
Employers should also pay attention to state liability protection, which states that companies cannot be sued by workers or protectors for potential COVID-1
"Most of them include languages that the business has taken reasonable steps to provide a safe place and many of them (liability protection) talk about following local, state and federal recommendations and guidelines," said Logsdon. "It's one thing that would provide an incentive for employers to follow the guidelines, to take advantage of that responsibility."
More insurance and work compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here .