COMPLIANCE CONSIDERATION
FOR EMPLOYERS

As the number of reported cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise, employers are increasingly confronted with the possibility of an outbreak in the workplace.

Employers are obligated to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for their employees but are also subject to a number of legal requirements protecting workers. For example, employers must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in their approach to dealing with COVID-19.  

 

BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN

Why is continuity planning important?

Did you know that 1 out of every 4 businesses impacted by a disaster never reopens its doors? And in the past year, nearly 1 in 5 companies has reported experiencing a business interruption. Companies that are prepared to face all types of incidents—small or large—are more likely to stay in business.

DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE PLAN

 

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH

ACT OF 1970

Under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the OSH Act), employers have a general duty to provide employees with safe workplace conditions that are “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” Workers also have the right to receive information and training about workplace hazards, and to exercise their rights as employees without retaliation.

There is no specific Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard covering COVID-19. However, some OSHA requirements may apply to preventing occupational exposure to COVID-19. In addition to the General Duty Clause, OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards and Bloodborne Pathogens standard may apply to certain workplaces, such as those in the healthcare industry.

Employers should continue to monitor the development of COVID-19 and analyze whether employees could be at risk of exposure. It is also important for employers to consider what preventative measures they can take to maintain safety and protect their employees from potentially contracting COVID-19.

Also, OSHA requires many employers to record certain work-related injuries and illnesses on their OSHA Form 300 (OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). OSHA has determined that COVID-19 is a recordable illness when a worker is infected on the job. Establishments that are required to complete an OSHA 300 log should be sure to include all COVID-19 infections that are work-related.

 

ACTION STEPS

There are a number of steps that employers can take to address the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace. In addition to reviewing the compliance concerns outlined, employers should:

  • Closely monitor the CDC, WHO and state and local public health department websites for information on the status of the coronavirus.
  • Proactively educate their employees on what is known about the virus, including its transmission and prevention.
  • Establish a written communicable illness policy and response plan that covers communicable diseases readily transmitted in the workplace.
  • Consider measures that can help prevent the spread of illness, such as allowing employees flexible work options like working from home.

TRICOR Insurance is here to help. We’ve gathered business resources, and if you have any immediate questions, please reach out to your agent or account manager.

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