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08.02.21

OSHA in a post-COVID world

BY , Carl Sall

In the first program of the Nixon Peabody and WSP USA four-part food and beverage webinar series, we discussed the topics that employers should consider as businesses reopen and the COVID-19 situation evolves. It is critical that companies stay informed about new occupational safety and health regulations, guidance, trends, and enforcement.

Read on for some specific developments that we discussed. We encourage you to keep these topics in mind as you prepare for the challenges ahead:

  • Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Fed/OSHA) has issued COVID-related guidance for general industry, including the food and beverage industry. This guidance mostly focuses on policies and procedures for unvaccinated workers. In addition, Fed/OSHA has indicated that it will place greater emphasis on enforcing the guidance in certain sectors of food manufacturing.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that employers can require employees to get a COVID vaccine; however, they must also adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when addressing employees who cannot receive a vaccine due to medical reasons. In addition, employers are required to keep vaccination information private and cannot share employee medical data.
  • If developing separate requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers, it is important that employers consider whether they will review vaccination cards or allow self-attesting. Employers should check local and state laws, regulations, and orders to determine if a locality has specific requirements.
  • There are a number of additional workplace issues for employers to consider, including managing employees' return to office plans and amending the rules for vaccinated individuals as COVID-19 variants spread, supporting outside social events and limiting close contact, and encouraging workers to monitor their health before returning from any travel.

Please reach out to either of us—Rachel at rconn@nixonpeabody.com or Carl Sall at carl.sall@wsp.com—with any questions you might have or to discuss how we can assist you in preparing for the months ahead.

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Rachel L. Conn

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