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9/25/20  2:17 pm
Commenter: Jon Lawson, CSP

Proposal an Undue Burden on Virginia's Businesses

By federal regulation, the common cold and flu are exempt from OSHA's recordkeeping and reporting requirements (29 CFR Part 1904.5(b)(2)(vii)): the rationale for the exemption is that the spread of the cold and flu are so pervasive that is typically near-impossible to identify the source of infection; i.e., there would be no reasonable way to determine whether it was more likely than not that the illness was caused by an exposure in the workplace. The scale of infection of COVID-19 is expected to soon spread like the flu and common cold, with such overlap of symptoms a permanent standard for COVID-19 is an undue burden to Virginia's businesses. Work-relatedness for non-hospital workplaces have already been relaxed by Federal OHSA.

Symptom overlap of flu and common colds will trigger employee absenteeism that cannot be navigated successfully. A ten-day quarantine for any related symptoms (e.g. runny nose or cough) is simply too restrictive.

A need for an off-ramp, when a vaccine or herd immunity is achieved, should be entered into the standard to allow workers and business to eventually return to normal operations.

The information about COVID-19 has evolved daily, recommendations have changed frequently, a permanent standard is pre-mature at this point.

CommentID: 86288