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Employers who are stuck in confusion over CDC worm policy



Legal experts say that employers are waiting for the Swedish Work Environment Authority to provide better guidance on whether workers should wear masks, weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that vaccinated individuals can refrain from wearing masks indoors.

In the meantime, workplace regulators in at least two states – Washington and Nevada – have issued guidance stating that they will follow CDC guidelines. California regulators said they will consider changes in June. At the same time, security organizations are calling for more federal guidance for workers.

Following the CDC's announcement on May 13, OSHA updated its COVID-1

9 website Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Prevention the spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace with a disclaimer that it reviews the CDC's guidelines; it intends to update its own guidance; and that employers should comply with current CDC rules.

"It's a nightmare" for employers, says Fiona W. Ong, a Baltimore-based partner with Shawe Rosenthal LLP and general counsel for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. "I have a lot of clients calling about what the CDC is saying."

In the face of conflicting federal, state, and local guidelines, and as more states completely abandoned masking, legal experts had told frustrated employers to follow the CDC – a backup option that became problematic with the Federal Bureau's announcement recently.

Kelley Barnett, Cleveland-based Vice President, Workforce and Employment Business Advisory Board, at AmTrust Financial Services Inc., said she urges clients to consider new workplace policies. carefully.

"It depends on the workplace attitude and the type of workforce you have and the type of business you have, and what is your risk tolerance," she said of any decision to let workers go unmasked.

19659002] Several major employers have announced that they will follow the CDC's new guidelines on masks for vaccinated workers and customers: Target Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Home Depot Inc. among them.

Ms. Barnett said most employers are waiting for more guidance from OSHA. The ongoing temporary emergency standard for COVID-19 security was submitted on April 27 to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for review. That the ETS was in response to an executive order by President Joe Biden, who called on OSHA to develop it by March 15. Four states have created their own emergency safety standards, all of which require masking in the workplace.

"I really wonder if that text (of the Federal ETS) will change based on what the CDC has done," Barnett said. “I think that if anything, the process will take longer. … It's an unparalleled time, and we truly trust our federal and local agencies to provide us with guidance. "

Adding to the frustration of employers is that OSHA has not come up with policy changes," said Brent Clark, partner at the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Mr. Clark commented on a change on OSHA's website stating that the agency will not enforce the registrability of side effects on vaccinations made mandatory by employers, saying "This is now twice, within a week, that OSHA has made an important change and done so without any fanfare. ”

“ They adopted the CDC guidelines that fully vaccinated employees no longer need to mask or social distance and did so only by changing the website, ”he said.“ They did it again here, embedded in a FAQ without a press release. "

OSHA did not respond to a request for comment.

Angela Childers contributed to this report.

More insurance and workers' compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here .

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