Special thanks to McNees attorneys Steve Matzura and Errin McCaulley for contributing to this post.
On April 5, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released an Order requiring businesses with in-person operations during COVID-19 to adopt and implement certain safety measures. Businesses covered by the Order include those with facilities of at least 50,000 square feet used for “commercial, industrial or other enterprises” that are either life-sustaining businesses or have been granted an exemption from the Governor’s March 19, 2020 closure order. The Order went into effect on April 6, 2020.
Businesses covered by the Order must adopt and implement certain cleaning protocols to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including routine disinfection of high-touch areas in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. In addition to complying with the Order, businesses should remain aware of the various workplace standards enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). Notably, businesses should review their operations for compliance with OSHA’s sanitation standard, such as by ensuring employee access to potable water and washing facilities necessary for personal hygiene.
While implementing the safety measures in the Order, businesses should be careful not to introduce or create additional workplace hazards. For example, businesses should consider OSHA’s requirements for walking-working surfaces to mitigate the potential slip, trip, and fall hazards created by increased cleaning activities. Depending on the nature of a business’s operations, additional OSHA standards may be implicated when implementing the safety measures.
For assistance in addressing any environmental, health, and safety issues, please contact any member of our Labor & Employment Group, Steve Matzura, or Errin McCaulley.