Tonkon Torp’s 2021 Annual Labor & Employment Event, held virtually on June 9, featured a presentation by attorney Megan Reuther, who provided an update on OSHA regulations relating to COVID-19.
During her talk (video below), Megan reviewed the permanent rules adopted in May 2021 that largely mimic the temporary rules implemented in November 2020. The rules are focused on physical distancing, face coverings, and employee notification requirements. Megan called out notable changes from the temporary rules involving industry-specific appendices, people transportation, HVAC system maintenance and certification, sanitation measures, and written return to work notice after quarantine. Megan unpacked the fine points and potential pitfalls of the vaccine exception for mask rules, stressing the confidentiality aspect of gathering proof of vaccination.
Noting that the permanent rules have no specific sunset date, Megan believes more exemptions and amendments will be released as more people become vaccinated and if a new wave of cases emerges. She reminded the attendees that the required plans and actions completed under the temporary rules need not be repeated, and that OSHA provides many time-saving templates for policy, certifications, and notifications.
Megan wrapped up her briefing with an update on the status of OSHA enforcement, and a reminder that it’s not yet time to put away the pandemic playbook. Violation monitoring remains active and in fact appears to be ramping up in 2021. She also stressed that pre-COVID-19 requirements regarding anti-discrimination, confidentiality, reporting, and recording remain in effect.
Megan is an attorney in Tonkon Torp’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. She works with local, regional, and national employers to solve complicated employment matters. Megan has substantial experience representing employers in state and federal court, and before Oregon’s Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Learn more about other topics from the 2021 Annual Labor & Employment Event:
Reopening Strategies & Considerations
Mandatory Vaccination Policies
Telecommuting and Flexible Work Schedules
Complying with the Workplace Fairness Act
Updates to Labor Law Under the Biden Administration
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Employers