COVID-19 Rule Update: OSHA Gathers New Data, Postpones New Standard

Posted on 4/9/2021 by Lauren Scott

OSHA announced plans to delay its new COVID-19 workplace safety standard while it gathers updated information on SARS-CoV-2. US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh made the request for up-to-date “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis and the latest information regarding the state of vaccinations and the variants,” according to a Department of Labor spokesperson on April 6.

In an Executive Order, President Joe Biden initially gave OSHA a deadline of March 15 to establish new COVID-19 workplace safety regulations. While OSHA made some progress before then, the Agency missed the initial deadline.

OSHA posted the guidance on January 26 in response to the President’s Executive Order that directed the agency to take stronger action to protect workers. The guidance encouraged employers to implement a coronavirus prevention program, which the Agency said is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Agency then expanded its COVID-19 workplace inspection program under a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) on March 12. The program expands upon its existing inspection efforts to prioritize companies with the highest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the virus.   

Existing State COVID-19 Rules

Many states already require COVID-19 safety training  and other disease prevention protocols for employees. State safety regulators in Virginia and Oregon have written permanent COVID-19 standards for employers. 

In Virginia, these rules took effect on January 27. In Oregon, a permanent standard was recently proposed and, if finalized, will take effect on May 4.

Both State rules address (at a minimum):
  • Workplace risk assessment to identify jobs that could expose employees to SARS-CoV-2.
  • Use of administrative and engineering controls to prevent transmission. 
  • Employee training, notification, and information requirements.
  • Rules for respiratory protection, face coverings, and PPE.
  • Physical distancing and hygiene requirements.
  • Employee transportation to or from work.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting the workplace.
  • When and how formerly COVID-19 positive employees can return to work. 
Safety professionals can reasonably expect that a Federal COVID-19 Standard, if one is created, will follow a similar outline.

COVID-19 Training for Employees

The new COVID-19 Employee Safety Awareness online course will help satisfy Federal OSHA recommendations and state-level employee information and COVID-19 training requirements.

Employees who complete this course will be ready to:
  • Recognize signs, symptoms, and risk factors of COVID-19.
  • Describe how the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus is transmitted.
  • Use general hygiene and work practices that limit COVID-19 exposure.
  • Use and care for personal protective equipment (PPE) when required.
The course run time is one hour, and employees can complete it 100% online, at their own pace. Each employee who completes this course receives a Certificate that employers can use as part of employee training records to help satisfy OSH Act responsibilities and state-level COVID-19 training mandates.

Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID-19 standard, osha, safety standard, workplace safety

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

The course was very informative and presented in a way that was easily understood and remembered. I would recommend this course.

Jeffrey Tierno

Hazmat Shipping Professional

Convenient; I can train when I want, where I want.

Barry Cook

Hazmat Shipping Professional

I really enjoy your workshops. Thank you for such a great program and all the help Lion has provided me over the years!

George Chatman

Hazardous Material Pharmacy Technician

Excellent class, super instructor, very easy to follow. No rushing through material. Would like to take his class again.

Lawrence Patterson

EH&S Facility Maintenance & Security Manager

I have attended other training providers, but Lion is best. Lion is king of the hazmat jungle!!!

Henry Watkins

Hazardous Waste Technician

Lion does a great job summarizing and communicating complicated EH&S-related regulations.

Michele Irmen

Sr. Environmental Engineer

As always, Lion never disappoints

Paul Resley

Environmental Coordinator

Given the choice, I would do all coursework this way. In-person courses go very fast without the opportunity to pause or repeat anything.

Ellen Pelton

Chemical Laboratory Manager

I have over 26 years of environmental compliance experience, and it has been some time since I have attended an environmental regulations workshop. I attended this course as preparation for EHS Audits for my six plants, and it was exactly what I was looking for.

Frank Sizemore

Director of Regulatory Affairs

These are the best classes I attend each year. I always take something away and implement improvements at my sites.

Kim Racine

EH&S Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Use this guide to spot which tanks and substances are regulated under EPA's Underground Storage Tank program, and which are excluded as of October 2018.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.