As Employers look to reopen businesses that have been closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is crucial that they consider OSHA's guidance to develop a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. Many employers that are not in the construction or manufacturing industries likely have paid little attention to OSHA, which most often comes up in the context of physical injuries. With COVID-19, however, OSHA is being raised in every type of workplace, as keeping employees safe from transmission of the virus has become front and center. Complying with OSHA Guidance, including the obligation to prepare a comprehensive COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, is going to be crucial not only for defending OSHA claims, but in all types of employment litigation related to COVID-19.
The Plan needs to include several key components in order to comply with OSHA's guidelines, including setting forth the Company’s plans to implement:
- Basic Infection Prevention Measures
- Policies and Procedures for Identifying Sick Individuals
- Policies on Workplace Flexibilities – including paid and unpaid leave
- Return to Work Policy compliant with CDC guidelines
- Workplace Controls to reduce risks of infection
The OSHA and CDC Guidelines on these subjects has been rapidly evolving over the past few months. We recommend that you prepare your COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan with the assistance of legal counsel.
For more information about the details of a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan or for assistance in preparing your organization’s Plan, please contact Doug Solomon, Chair of the Firm's OSHA Practice Group via email at or (973) 535-7128.