COVID-19 State Safety and Health Requirements Continue to Roll Back
As the COVID-19 infection rates continue to decline and stay low, state health departments and safety agencies are rolling back requirements for most workplaces, except for those in healthcare. Most recently, Oregon and New York have joined Michigan issuing notices revising workplace safety and health requirements. These states are not alone as other states are taking the same actions. PRINTING United Alliance continues to watch the unfolding story in Virginia and its actions to rescind its COVID-19 workplace safety standard.
Due to updated health guidance issued by the Oregon’s Office of the Governor, Oregon’s safety and health agency issued significant adjustments to its Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks. These changes became effective on March 18, 2022.
However, it is important to understand that not all of the requirements have been eliminated. All workplaces must continue to follow the provisions of the rule that remain in place. While employers in general workplaces, which are defined as all workplaces other than exceptional risk workplaces, no longer need to require masking, they must allow workers to voluntarily use facial coverings and provide facial coverings at no cost to workers. Printing companies are not considered to be exceptional risk workplaces. Additionally, employers must facilitate COVID-19 testing for workers if such testing is conducted at the employer’s direction by ensuring the employer covers the costs associated with that testing, including employee time and travel.
Employers should also:
- Continue to optimize the use of ventilation systems to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- Follow OSHA, public health, or medical provider recommendations for isolation or quarantine of employees for COVID-19.
- Provide notice to workers who have had a potential work-related exposure to COVID-19 within 24 hours.
The New York HERO Act required all businesses to develop and implement a HERO Act safety plan as COVID-19 was declared to present a serious risk of harm to the public health. As of March 17, 2022, the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under the HERO Act ended. Private sector employers are no longer required to implement their workforce safety plans.
As with other state COVID-19 rules and polices, certain requirements remain in place. All employers are still required to:
- Have a HERO safety plan on file in the workplace.
- Provide a copy of the plan to employees, both current and upon hiring.
- Post the plan in the workplace.
- Include a copy of the plan within their employee handbooks.
New York city private employers are still subject to the workplace vaccine mandate.
PRINTING United Alliance continues to follow these and other issues that impact the membership. For more information, please contact Marci Kinter, email@example.com; Gary Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Adriane Harrison, email@example.com.
Marcia Kinter is the Vice President, Government & Regulatory Affairs at PRINTING United Alliance. Ms. Kinter oversees the development of resources for the Association addressing environmental, safety & health, and sustainability issues. She represents the printing industry, as well as their associated supplier base, before federal and state regulatory agencies on environmental, safety and other government issues directly impacting the printing industry.
In 2008, Kinter, in conjunction with colleagues from other printing trade associations, was instrumental in launching the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership program. The SGP Program is a registry system for printing facilities that includes third party verification. The program successfully launched as an independent organization in August 2008.
Kinter is a member of and serves as Secretary for the Academy of Screen Printing Technology. In 2001, Kinter received the William D. Schaeffer Environmental Award for significant advancement of environmental awareness in the graphic arts industry.
Before joining PRINTING United Alliance, Kinter worked for The American Waterways Operators, Inc., the national association for the barge and towing industry.
She holds bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University.