Oppose Making DOLI Regulation Permanent
I strongly oppose these additional burdens on employers during this challenging economic time. And while the business community supports clear and consistent workplace health protection protocols; we remain concerned about the impact many of the provisions of the ETS are having on businesses and encourage the Board to not make them permanent.
Below are some of the areas of the ETS that need attention if a permanent standard is pursued:
- Amend § 10G to the agency’s original language providing “safe harbor” for employers who follow CDC and OSHA guidance.
- Strike the vague language mandating “flexible” sick leave policies. It is unconstitutionally vague and it exceeds the agency’s statutory authority.
- Strike requirements of owners of buildings and facilities to report COVID cases to employer tenants. It exceeds the intent of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act to require employers to provide employment and a place of employment that is free of recognized hazards.
- Remove hand sanitizer as a requirement. Everywhere else, it is a substitute or a best practice.
- Change language to apply hazard levels to job tasks instead of employers or industries.
- Change the time-based return-to-work rule requiring three days of being symptom-free (following the ten-day period since the onset of symptoms) to one, consistent with the new CDC standard.
- Eliminate the requirement to report positive cases to the Department of Health. Health care providers are already doing this.
- Eliminate the redundant language regarding employee refusal to work because they feel unsafe. The criteria for protected work refusals are already in the Administrative Regulatory Manual.
- Define “minimal contact.”
- Eliminate requirements to include business considerations (e.g., how to handle supply chain issues, cross-training to prepare for staff shortages) that have nothing to do with employee safety. 11. Ensure this regulation sunsets with the Governor’s State of Emergency the way the ETS does. The Board should also consider the burden that making this standard permanent and adding additional provisions will have on businesses that continue to struggle with the economic consequences of this pandemic.