Jenner & Block

"Virginia’s COVID-19 Workplace Safety Regulation Is Permanent: A National Model"

On July 2020, we reported that Virginia, an OSHA State-plan State, was the first in the country to issue a workplace safety regulation specifically addressing COVID-19. At that time, the Virginia standard was issued as a temporary emergency rule, which would expire by January 27, 2021, unless made permanent. On the expiration date, Governor Northam formally approved a revised version of the temporary emergency rule, 16VAC25-220, “Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19,” applicable to all regulated workplaces in the Commonwealth (the Permanent Standard). Although described as permanent, by its own terms, within 14 days of the expiration of the Governor’s temporary declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board must meet to determine whether there remains an ongoing need for the COVD-19 workplace safety regulation. § 20B. The Permanent Standard is immediately effective, except that the program documentation and training requirements go into effect on March 26, 2021. The Permanent Standard will be enforced by the Department of Labor and Industry, which operates the Virginia State Plan for Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH).

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