Virginia Adopts COVID-related Workplace Safety Standards
On July 15th, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry adopted a first-of-its-kind statewide “Emergency Temporary Standard” for workplace safety during the COVID-related public health emergency. These mandatory state regulations (referred to as the “ETS”) became effective as of July 27, 2020 and will remain in effect for six months (or upon expiration of the Governor’s state of emergency, or when superseded or repealed by subsequent legislation or regulations, whichever occurs first). The primary purpose of the ETS is to provide employees with protection against COVID-19 hazards. Violations of these standards by employers can lead to hefty monetary penalties.
Among other things, the ETS requires employers to make a COVID-19 risk assessment and categorize employee job tasks as very high, high, medium or lower risk of exposure to COVID-19. Also, several of the workplace safety protocols are applicable to all covered employers (such as notification requirements for positive test results, encouraging employees to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, and prohibiting those who are infected or suspected to be infected from coming to the workplace or a client location). Other safety protocols are applicable to only those with employee job tasks or hazards classified as very high, high or medium risk – for instance, those employers have until August 26th to provide COVID-19 training to employees as specified in the ETS.
Must your community association comply with the ETS? It may not be as clear-cut as you might think. For a variety of state-published guidance on the ETS, please visit the following state website:
Federal, state and local responses to COVID-19 continue to evolve. We encourage associations to monitor relevant government websites and this page for further updates.
Legal Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific facts and circumstances of each case and each association’s governing documents. Also, it is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of all legal considerations, nor should it be used to replace the individualized advice of your legal counsel.