Communicable Illness Response

We help you protect employees and mitigate impact on business operations in the event of potential or actual disease threat. Our OSHA, employment, labor, health care, privacy, government affairs, environmental and crisis communications lawyers coordinate on communicable illness prevention, planning and response.

Our approach

An outbreak of communicable illness can put employees at risk and wreak havoc on a business. It can trigger a wide and confusing range of regulatory obligations and practical considerations. Acting expeditiously is critical to protecting your employees and maintaining operations. Through a cross-discipline team we help prepare and respond quickly when an outbreak occurs.


OSHA Compliance Obligations

  • Development and review of Communicable Illness Prevention Plans
  • PPE requirements
  • Respiratory protection requirements
  • Training programs
  • BBP standards compliance
  • Cal/OSHA ATD standard compliance
  • Development, revision and update of ATD, BBP, Respiratory Protection, PPE, Haz-com, Haz-mat, Haz-Woper and IIPP programs
  • Vaccination programs
  • OSHA Ebola and Cal/OSHA outbreak specific guidelines
  • Response to regulatory agency enforcement action, legislative action and emergency declarations
  • Interplay between OSHA and public health guidelines and orders
  • Defense of OSHA citations
  • Variances

Labor & Employment

  • Communicable illness screening protocols
  • Attendance, leave of absence, refusal to work and return to work policies
  • Quarantine and associated pay policies
  • Travel policies and restrictions
  • Communication
  • Response and strategy regarding social and traditional media attacks
  • Duty to bargain: negotiating with unions over new programs and protocols
  • EEOC, ADA, FEHA, FMLA and CRA compliance

Health Care and Clinical Research Operations

  • Federal and state authority emergency response
  • Communicable illness control
  • Disaster and emergency declarations
  • Federal PREP Act
  • Outbreak reporting, quarantine/isolation requirements
  • Licensing issues
  • Supplies/pharmaceuticals
  • Use of experimental drugs, informed consent or ethics issues in emergency or disaster situations
  • Health care reimbursement

Privacy and Security of Health Information

  • HIPAA Compliance
  • State laws governing medical information confidentiality
  • Common law privacy information
  • Other confidential information
  • Technology and security of information
  • Reporting obligations


  • Medical Waste Management Act compliance
  • Analyze generator status and assist with identification of thresholds and exemptions
  • Respond to and negotiate penalties related to Medical Waste Management Act enforcement
  • Review and negotiate transport and disposal contracts
  • Review environmental management systems for identification of risks
  • Analyze adequacy of medical waste treatment facility permits
  • Assist with emergency notification and reporting requirements for spills and releases

Media Relations/Public Relations

  • Talking points, media statements, patient and employee communications

Recent Experience:

  • Assisted client in preparing for Zika response and in preparing employee communication on Zika
  • Extensive experience with other state OSHA plans.
  • Extensive experience representing national health system in various Cal/OSHA matters including advice consultation, safety plan updates and revisions and defense of citations.
  • Experience representing hospitals and other health care employers in all types of occupational safety and health issues.
  • Conduct of many OSHA training programs for manager and executives in health care and other industries.
  • Successful defense of one of the first sets of citations issued under Cal/OSHA’s  ATD standard.
  • Defended numerous BBP citations.
  • Defended numerous respiratory protection and other PPE citations.
  • Extensive experience in the OSHA and Cal/OSHA rule making process.
  • Extensive experience in the Cal/OSHA variance process.
  • Represented hospitals during TB, SARS, H1N1 and seasonal flu outbreaks and outbreak concerns.
  • Represented several health care institutions during the H1N1 outbreak with regard to the conflicting guidelines from Cal/OSHA and public health officials.
  • Authored, revised and updated numerous ATD, BBP, Respiratory Protection, PPE, Haz-Com, Haz-Mat, Haz-Woper, and IPP programs among many others.
  • Extensive experience with communicable illness travel restrictions.
  • Authored, revised and updated vaccination protocols and programs.
  • Assisting employers in the development of private and public/private partnership PODS and with regard to participating in public PODS.
  • Extensive experience with the interplay of ADA, FEHA, FMLA/CRA, Workers Compensation and Cal/OSHA and OSHA issues.
  • Extensive experience assisting and representing employers with crisis and disaster response protocols.
  • Consultant to the California Hospital Association on ATDs and other Cal/OSHA issues.
  • Successful challenges to local government attempts to regulate occupational safety and health (the San Francisco VDT Ordinance, among others)
  • Advised the NYS Department of Health during Smallpox, SARS and H1N1 preparedness planning and response.
  • Representation on the editorial board for the New York State Public Health Legal Manual, a guide for legal management of public health emergencies in New York State.


Jeffrey M. Tanenbaum

Co-chair, Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA)

Phone: 415-984-8450

Michael R. Lindsay


Phone: 213-629-6000

Alicia C. Anderson


Phone: 213-629-6073

Rachel L. Conn


Phone: 415-984-8216

Laurie T. Cohen


Phone: 518-427-2708

Jill H. Gordon

Co-chair, Life Sciences Practice

Phone: 213-629-6175

Lindsay Maleson


Phone: 516-832-7627

Gabrielle B. Goldstein, PhD


Phone: 415-984-8266

Alison B. Torbitt

Co-leader, Food, Beverage & Agribusiness

Phone: 415-984-5008

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