Coronavirus News Hub For EHS Pros
Have specific questions? Check out our Coronavirus Q&A, where Senior Instructor Scott D answers your most frequently asked questions.
More states are considering COVID-19 safety guidance, policies, executive orders every day. Check out our list of Coronavirus Training Requirements by State that employers and employees must follow to be in compliance with new and changing safety standards in your state.
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
United States Postal Service (USPS)
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
US Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Return to Top
On January 15, Governor Youngkin signed an executive order to direct the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board to review the necessity of the rule and report back to the Governor with their findings.
Update: On January 13, 2022, the US Supreme Court granted a stay of OSHA's vaccination-or-testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) until a final decision about the Rule's legality is reached.
OSHA's COVID-19 ETS for the healthcare industry has expired as of December 21, 2021. The original ETS was valid for six months from date of publication.
OSHA’s emergency temporary standard (ETS) concerning COVID-19 vaccination and testing for large employers was published to the Federal Register on November 5, 2021 and takes effect immediately.
OSHA will host meetings with industry stakeholders on October 18 and 19 to discuss its final emergency temporary rule to create requirements concerning COVID-19 for covered employers.
According to the White House website, President Biden has ordered the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a vaccination mandate for certain private, large employers as part of a comprehensive COVID-19 strategy.
OSHA has seen a 581% uptick in coronavirus-related work safety complaints in the last two months, with the majority of complaints stemming from states in the Southeast, according to Agency data.
OSHA’s long-awaited Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19 is now completed and awaiting publication in the Federal Register.
As COVID-19 vaccines become widely available across the country, questions linger as more workers consider opting for the vaccine. For example, if an employee opts for the vaccine and then exhibits a reaction to the vaccine while on the job, is that a recordable illness under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements in 29 CFR 1904?
OSHA issued a $12,288 safety citation to a warehousing and distribution company in Naperville, IL for alleged safety violations related to a company meeting that led to 23 workers contracting COVID-19, including one who died.
OSHA delivered its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval this week. If approved, the Final Rule may appear in the Federal Register within weeks.
OSHA announced plans to delay its new COVID-19 workplace safety standard while it gathers updated information on SARS-CoV-2. 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."
On March 12, OSHA launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to protect high-risk workers from hazards related to COVID-19 exposure. The program expands upon its existing inspection efforts to prioritize companies with the highest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the virus.
As part of California's Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) requirements, employers must protect workers workplace hazards, including infectious diseases like COVID-19.
A recent Executive Order directs OSHA to consider promulgating, by March 15, emergency worker protections to address the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.
OSHA recently released new guidance to help protect US employees from COVID-19 in the workplace. The guidance recommends measures employers can implement based on the latest data from CDC.
Oregon OSHA has proposed a permanent COVID-19 worker protection standard that will replace the temporary requirements already in place. If finalized, the new standard will take effect on May 4, 2021.
President Joe Biden has directed OSHA to do more to protect workers from COVID-19 and enforce workplace safety standards.
On January 13, Virginia's Safety and Health Codes Board passed a resolution authorizing permanent coronavirus standards for the state. These permanent standards mirror the temporary rule and are expected to appear in 16 VAC 25-220.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Nov. 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations arising from 244 inspections for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $3,301,932.
Report: COVID-19 Enforcement By the Numbers
We dissect OSHA's first OSHA COVID-19 enforcement actions to show which specific OSHA Standards inspectors are citing during novel coronavirus-related inspections.
A public interest law firm, Public Justice Center, is calling for an investigation at Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH). The law firm accuses MOSH of failing to follow its own policies and procedures for investigating health and safety complaints during the coronavirus pandemic.
OSHA released guidance for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning professionals on how to optimize building ventilation to reduce the risk of employee exposure to the coronavirus. More OSHA COVID-19 safety alerts.
N95 Mask Effectiveness Added to COVID-19 Q&A
Will an N95 respirator protect the wearer from the virus that causes COVID-19? OSHA addresses this question in their latest FAQ, backed by the latest scientific data to help inform employers and employees alike.
OSHA added three answers to its COVID-19 FAQ page to clarify the reporting requirements for work-related cases of COVID-19 that result in hospitalization. "..to be reportable," the new guidance reads, "an in-patient hospitalization due to COVID-19 must occur with 24 hours of an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 at work."
On October 2, OSHA issued temporary guidance on the use of tight-fitting powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) during the COVID-19 global health emergency.
Earlier this month, Cal/OSHA issued another round of citations to employers in the Golden State who allegedly failed to meet State standards to protect their workers from hazards related to coronavirus.
OSHA recently announced enforcement actions against two meat packing facilities related to COVID-19 workplace safety. Cal/OSHA also announced citations against a frozen food manufacturer in the Golden State for COVID-19 workplace safety violations.
The US Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General has concluded that OSHA must improve its Whistleblower Protection Program after an audit report revealed the agency failed to respond to complaints in a timely manner.
In the absence of a single Federal standard for COVID-19 training, state safety agencies, legislatures, and governors’ offices have released regulations, policies, and guidance that require employers to provide employee training on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and how to prevent workplace exposure.
To ensure facilities and employees can return to work safely after COVID-19, OSHA issued a series of guidance memos tailored towards specific industries, such as manufacturing, meat processing, logistics, and construction.
Guidance on Returning Work
OSHA recently published a guide for businesses on how to reopen safely through a gradual, step by step process. The document also includes a chart of safety regulations, so employers can easily find which OSHA regulations apply to which scenario.
To address the growing concerns of businesses and consumers, OSHA released a list of frequently asked questions and answers regarding cloth face coverings, respirators, and surgical masks. The goal is to ensure these masks are used correctly and for the appropriate situations.
On May 28, OSHA issued guidance to help employers ensure safe social distancing as many workers across the US return to work. The alert details a variety of ways managers and safety officers can implement social distancing to prevent coronavirus spread.
As states begin reopening, many facilities will need to rethink how to disinfect the workplace to protect employees from COVID-19 and comply with Federal guidelines. However, these changes may require new or revised OSHA hazard communication strategies, depending on which cleaning agents are being used.
OSHA released revised guidance concerning workplace safety compliance during the COVID-19 public health emergency. OSHA also updated their policy for recording workplace cases of COVID-19.
OSHA launched 192 coronavirus-related workplace safety investigations between February 19 and April 23 to determine whether employers failed to adequately protect their workers. This is the culmination of thousands of complaints fielded by investigators since January relating to the pandemic.
Due to the national respirator shortage, some companies are seeking less conventional marketplaces with the hope of keeping their essential staff and employees safe. But don’t be fooled! Many counterfeit masks appear strikingly similar to their approved counterpart. Here’s how to tell the difference.
Due to limited supplies of FFRs, employers should reassess their engineering controls, work practices, and administrative controls to identify any changes they can make to decrease the need for respirators. If respiratory protection must be used, NIOSH has identified limited available research that suggests several methods offer the most promise for decontaminating FFRs.
OSHA released a memo stating that the Agency will consider an employer’s “good-faith efforts” prior to any enforcement action in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On April 10, 2020, OSHA issued interim guidance related to recording cases of COVID-19 that occur in the workplace. Normally, illnesses contracted in the workplace are recordable if they are new cases and result in medical treatment beyond first aid, days away from work, or other criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7.
In an enforcement guidance memo directed to its officers, OSHA recommends that employers facing a shortage of N95 filtering facepiece respirators, or FFRs, do the following...
Fearing a supply shortage of N95 filtering facepiece respirators due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, OSHA issued temporary enforcement guidance related to the Respiratory Protection Standard at 29 CFR 1910.134.
OSHA issues a new coronavirus alert and guidance for employers.
OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released guidance for employers regarding the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. As US cases begin to make headlines, employers should take steps to prevent rapid transmission of the coronavirus.
UPDATE: New PHMSA Hand Sanitizer Policy for Distilleries, Others
Update 12/8/20/20: PHMSA reinstated and extended its enforcement policy concerning hand sanitizers transported by highway and rail. Hand sanitizers manufactured and packaged under the now-expired Notice of Enforcement Discretion before October 31, 2020 may be shipped under the reliefs PHMSA granted.
To make it easier for carriers to provide hand sanitizers and disinfectants to workers throughout the supply chain, PHMSA will provide relief for the transport of these items on a motor vehicle for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of employees and contractors who directly support a carrier’s logistical operations.
Unless you’re Stretch Armstrong, you can’t sign hazmat shipping papers from six feet away—the recommended social distance to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. PHMSA has issued recommendations for meeting your regulatory responsibility from a safe distance.
PHMSA Enforcement Discretion For Cylinders That Exceeded The Periodic Requalification Test Date
United States Postal Service (USPS)
USPS has revised its Publication 52 regulations for mailing Category B Infectious Substances “to support the rapid deployment of coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic tests…”
USPS customers can now request a “special exception” to the Publication 52 requirements for shipping hand sanitizers by ground or, in limited cases, domestic air.
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
From disinfecting wipes to N95 masks, from toilet paper to rice, the coronavirus pandemic has caused supply shortages of a multitude of products. The latest expected casualty: dry ice.
On April 17, IATA released guidance pertaining to the use of passenger aircraft to safely transport cargo and/or mail during the COVID-19 global health crisis.
Last month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released information to help hazmat shippers transport infectious substances and hand sanitizer safely and in compliance via air. This new guidance aims to assist supply-chain professionals, aircraft workers, and frequent flyers alike in supporting the fight against COVID-19.
US Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
FDA has expanded its list of hand sanitizers that potentially contain methanol to seventy-five products and seven different manufacturers. Plus, find out what steps you can take when purchasing and using sanitizing products to help ensure your team’s safety.
FDA is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
With 15% of the US population now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and around 500 million individual doses still to be delivered, the United States will produce a lot more vaccine-related waste in the next six months.
EPA List of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2
UPDATE: EPA's list of approved surface disinfectant surpasses 500 products, giving safety officers, employees, and consumers even more options to choose from to help protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19. US EPA shares a list of disinfectants for use against the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
On August 20, EPA announced updated guidance to assist generators, transporters, and designated facilities with signing the hazardous waste manifest amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, EPA approved two Lysol brand disinfecting sprays as the first products tested to effectively destroy SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, on hard, non-porous surfaces. This paves the way for more disinfectants to be approved in the future.
The enforcement discretion policy US EPA implemented in March to help organizations cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 public health emergency now has an end date.
Since coronavirus has swept through the US, EPA has begun issuing enforcement actions against those who unlawfully attempt to mislead the public by importing, manufacturing, distributing, and/or selling unregistered, potentially harmful disinfecting products.
Attorneys General from nine states filed suit against US EPA over the agency’s Temporary Policy on environmental enforcement during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
CDC and EPA have collaborated on documentation and an infographic to help facility operators ensure the safety and wellbeing of their workforce once employees return to work.
CalEPA Issues Statement on Compliance with Regulatory Requirements During the COVID-19 Emergency
California’s Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)—the umbrella agency that oversees compliance with the Golden State’s unique hazardous waste, air, water, and chemical regulations—released a “Statement on Compliance with Regulatory Requirements During the COVID-19 Emergency.”
EPA has barred an illegal disinfectant claiming to kill SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, from entering US ports in Honolulu and Guam.
US EPA announces a temporary enforcement policy for routine monitoring and reporting violations that are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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