Virginia Leads the Way in COVID-19 Occupational Safety Requirements by Proposing Emergency Temporary Standards


The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“VOSH”) has issued proposed emergency temporary standards which could take effect as early as July 15. If approved the standards would require all Virginia employers to take active steps to develop and implement policies and procedures aimed at reducing the risk of employees’ exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. Under the temporary standards, all employers must make an assessment of the workplace for conditions which could expose employees to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 and classify employees according to the potential hazards as “very high,” “high,” “medium” or “lower” risk levels of exposure.

Regardless of employees’ classifications, all employers would be required, among other steps, to:

  • Develop and implement policies and procedures for employees to report symptoms of COVID-19;
  • Prohibit individuals known or suspected of a COVID-19 infection from reporting or remaining on the job site;
  • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance (and ensure that employees are aware of the policies); and
  • Develop policies and procedures for known or suspected COVID-19 individuals to return to work.

The proposed standards are relatively extensive and the first of their kind at the state or federal level. Quarles & Brady will continue to actively monitor this issue.

For more information on the effect these emergency temporary standards may have on your business, please contact your local Quarles & Brady attorney or:

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