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  • 10/06/2020

    COVID-19 Workplace Safety Training

    Client Alert

    Written by: Susan L. Swatski, Esq.

    Sixteen states, including New York, require employers to provide COVID-19 workplace safety training to employees. Even in states where training is not explicitly required, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, employers should consider providing COVID-19 workplace safety training. The Occupational Safety and Health Act and related state laws require employers to provide a workplace free from “known hazards” that are “likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”

    Exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace could constitute a workplace “known hazard” if the job requires physical interaction with the public or close contact with other employees. By way of example, a lawsuit was recently filed by employees of several Chicago restaurants. The employees claimed the restaurants acted negligently and created a public nuisance by failing to correctly train employees on social distancing and to enforce face-covering. The employees established that the possibility of COVID-19 infection and subsequent injury in the workplace was "highly probable," causing the court to issue a preliminary injunction. The injunction required the restaurants to provide employee training on social distancing and to enforce face-covering requirements.

    COVID-19 workplace safety training should include:

    • CDC and OSHA workplace safety protocols,
    • All state-mandated training elements and workplace safety protocols and
    • Review of all employer workplace safety policies and practices including wearing of masks, occupancy restrictions, temperature testing, restrictions on in-person client/customer meetings etc.

    Employers should keep a written record of all who attend safety training. If you are interested in conducting COVID-19 workplace safety training, please contact Susan L. Swatski, Esq. at sswatski@hillwallack.com; we are providing both in-person and virtual training.

    ©2020 Hill Wallack LLP. All rights reserved. Please contact Hill Wallack for permission to reprint. Notice: The purpose of this Client Alert is to identify select developments that may be of interest to readers. The information contained herein is abridged and summarized from various sources, accuracy and completeness of which cannot be assured. This Client Alert should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.