Heads up: Despite the unwillingness of OSHA to roll out an infectious disease standard, you might soon be required to develop procedures for controlling infectious diseases anyway.
That’s because two states are moving forward with their own infectious disease rules – and other states are sure to follow.
Citing the lack of leadership from OSHA, Virginia and Oregon are in the advanced stages of developing a standard.
In fact, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board just OK’d a resolution citing the need for an emergency temporary infectious disease standard, which could take effect as soon as July 15, 2020.
Key components of the proposed standard include:
• Employers would be required to assign a risk level – very high, high, medium, or low – to all tasks, based on potential coronavirus exposure.
• Operations would have to conduct a hazard assessment of job tasks to determine whether safety gear is needed to reduce the risks of exposure to COVID-19.
• Companies would have to develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan.
In addition, Oregon OSHA just announced that it plans to enact two emergency temporary infectious disease rules by Sept. 1.
What it means to you: You might want to begin working on hazard assessments of all job tasks now. In addition, you could start considering the potential components of an infectious disease preparedness and response plan. There’s a better than even chance that you’ll soon be required to take these steps anyway.
(From the July 6, 2020, issue of OSHA Compliance News. To download the rest of the issue right now, please click here.)