Virginia's Department of Labor and Industry continues discussion regarding an emergency temporary standard for workplace safety.
On Monday, June 29th, the Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board continued their discussions from the last week (June 24th) regarding the implementation of an emergency temporary standard for workplace safety in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Monday’s meeting focused primarily on substantive questions and concerns regarding the proposed regulations.
While the Board was unable to finish examining the entire proposed regulation, they did come to conclusions on several items, including:
- The Board approved a July 15th effective date for the emergency temporary standard (at which time it would be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Richmond, per §40.1-22(6a)). Approval of the emergency temporary standard by the Board and the standard’s publication are the only two requirements for the standard to take effect.
- A Board amendment was approved that allows indoor versus outdoor work environments to be taken into consideration when determining exposure risk level.
- There was substantial debate surrounding whether an employer should be considered in compliance if they are following CDC guidance. The Board approved an amendment that allows employers to be in compliance if they follow CDC guidance, but an employer would also need to demonstrate compliance with mandatory and non-mandatory guidance, the CDC guidance must provide an equivalent or greater level of protection than the Virginia regulation, and the employer must document which CDC guidance they are following.
- An amendment was narrowly approved that allows for expiration of the emergency temporary standard in six months, or upon expiration of the Governor’s declared State of Emergency, or when superseded by a permanent standard, whichever occurs first. There was also agreement that if the Board determined the need to move towards a permanent standard, a public hearing would occur.
They completed action on approximately 1/3 of the regulations and will have at least one more meeting to address the rest of the regulations which is scheduled to occur on July 7th at 9:15 am. We will continue to update our members.