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Virginia created workplace standard; others can follow



While the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not yet issued enforceable guidance to protect workers from COVID-19, Virginia became the first state to create its own temporary standard for emergencies, and at least one state hopes not to be far behind.

Although 12 other states have created some enforceable protection for workers through executive orders, Virginia's standards – adopted Wednesday – are the most comprehensive, says Debbie Berkowitz, Washington-based director of the National Employment Law Project's Occupational Health Program. 19659002] "Some states may have some stronger regulations than Virginia (temporary emergency standard) for certain protections, but Virginia & # 39 ;s ETS is the most comprehensive," she said in an email.

The Virginia Standards, developed by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industries at the request of Intergovernmental Conference Ralph Northam, were approved in late June by the State Board of Safety and Health Codes Board. They require the use of appropriate personal protective equipment in the workplace and have enforceable guidance on sanitation, social distancing, preparedness and contingency plans for infectious diseases, record keeping, training and communication on hazards.

"Workers should not have to sacrifice their health and safety to earn a living, especially during an ongoing global pandemic," Governor Northam said in a statement. "In light of federal inaction, Virginia has stepped up to protect workers from COVID-1

9 and created the country's first enforceable workplace requirements."

"Workers and our unions will continue to advocate for a federal standard that protects all working people, private and public, no matter where we live," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a statement.

California, Illinois , Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington have all created protection for workers.In Massachusetts, for example, the State Department of Public Health developed a mandatory safety standard in the workplace, and violations are expected carry $ 300 fines with cessation of cessation for criminals.Washton State companies have penalties of up to $ 10,000 for violating the rules issued by the state Department of Labor and Industries.Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer demanded through an executive order that all companies with on-site employees create COVID-19 contingency and response plans, including safety protocols, and propose fines such as exceeds $ 70,000 for violations.

Oregon, which has some protections in place, announced plans in June to create a temporary emergency standard, and the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it will introduce its proposed standard next week, expecting a new rule to be in place. place no later than February 22, 2021. [19659002] Temporary emergency standard in Virginia, contingency preparedness and response plan, and training instructions are published on the State Department of Labor and Industry website.

More insurance and work compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here .


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