Keeping up with labor laws can be a daunting task. Changes seem to occur almost daily. And while this isn’t actually the case, it can sure feel that way. Changes to federal labor laws do not happen quite as frequent as those at the state level as a general rule. But in times of uncertainty, as we experienced with Covid in 2020, even federal labor laws can be enacted quickly as we saw with the passing of the CARES Act. The laws created by the CARES Act were of a temporary nature with many of the requirements ending in December of 2020. Most changes to labor laws are not temporary though. We find states often update various laws throughout the year. Some of those changes are considered minor such as address changes, website address changes, or department personnel changes. Other changes are considered major such as increases in minimum wages, newly enacted laws, and major changes to the text of an existing law.
Midyear often brings about many of those changes. The most common change is a state’s Minimum Wage. Although the Federal Minimum Wage has not increased since July 2009, many states, cities, and counties have a higher minimum wage. (Employers are required to pay workers the higher amount.)
The following states have mid-year minimum wage increases:
To keep up with the most current changes to the federal labor laws as well as your state labor laws you can sign up for a free email update service. Simply click here to enroll: https://www.nsccompliance.net/llp-updates/
On March 14, 2020 OSHA issued a temporary fit guidance for respiratory protection for Health Care Providers (HCP) in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic crisis. The guidance was in response to a memorandum by the President and was done to ensure HCP have proper and adequate access to N95 or greater respiratory protection.
On March 11, 2020 President Trump authorized the Memorandum
on Making General Use Respirators Available. In the memorandum President Trump
stated “It is the policy of the United States to take proactive measures
to prepare for and respond to public health threats, including the public
health emergency involving Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which was
declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services on February 4,
2020.” He further stated “We must ensure that our healthcare providers have
full access to the products they need. …Unfortunately, at present, public
health experts anticipate shortages in the supply of personal respiratory
devices (respirators) available for use by healthcare workers in mitigating
further transmission of COVID-19.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Secretary
of Health and Human Services shall take all appropriate and necessary
steps with respect to general use respirators to facilitate their emergency use
by healthcare personnel in healthcare facilities and elsewhere… Additionally,
the Secretary of Labor shall consider all appropriate and necessary steps to
increase the availability of respirators.”
OSHA has provided temporary guidance for 29 CFR § 1910.134,
regarding required annual fit-testing which took effect March 14th and
remains in effect until further notice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
currently recommends that Health Care Providers (HCP), who are providing direct
care of patients with known or suspected COVID-19, practice infection control
procedures. These include engineering controls (e.g., airborne infection
isolation rooms), administrative controls (e.g., cohorting patients, designated
HCP), work practices (e.g., handwashing, disinfecting surfaces), and
appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, face
shields or other eye protection, and gowns. Appropriate respiratory
protection is required for all healthcare personnel providing direct care of
these patients. (For additional guidance, see COVID-19 Hospital
Preparedness Assessment Tool, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/hcp-hospital-checklist.html.)
OSHA recommends HCP employers follow existing CDC
guidelines, including taking measures to conserve supplies of these respirators
while safeguarding HCP. One such measure is that healthcare employers may
provide HCP with another respirator of equal or higher protection, such as N99
or N100 filtering facepieces, reusable elastomeric respirators with appropriate
filters or cartridges, or powered air purifying respirators. They may also change
the method of fit testing from a destructive method (i.e., quantitative) to a
non-destructive method (i.e., qualitative).
Workers should visually inspect the N95 respirator to
determine if the structural and functional integrity of the respirator has been
compromised. Over time, components such as the straps, nose bridge, and nose
foam material may degrade, which can affect the quality of the fit and seal. If
the structural and functional integrity of any part of the respirator is
compromised, or if a successful user seal check cannot be performed, discard
the respirator and try another respirator.
OSHA field offices should use their own discretion regarding
enforcement of the annual fit testing requirement as long as employers:
Make a good-faith effort to comply with 29 CFR § 1910.134;
Use only NIOSH-certified respirators;
Implement CDC and OSHA strategies for optimizing the supply of N95 filtering facepiece respirators and prioritizing their use;
Perform initial fit tests for each HCP with the same model, style, and size respirator that the worker will be required to wear for protection against COVID-19;
Inform workers that the employer is temporarily suspending the annual fit testing of N95 filtering facepiece respirators to preserve and prioritize the supply of respirators for use in situations where they are required to be worn;
Explain to workers the importance of performing a fit check each time they put it on to make sure they are getting an adequate seal from their respirator;
Conduct a fit test if they observe visual changes in the employee’s physical condition that could affect respirator fit and explain to workers that, if their face shape has changed since their last fit test, they may no longer be getting a good facial seal with the respirator and, thus, are not being adequately protected; and,
Remind workers they must inform their supervisor or their respirator program administrator if the integrity and/or fit of their N95 filtering facepiece respirator is compromised.
reciente brote del mortal Coronavirus ha causado mucha preocupación en todo el
mundo. La nueva infección respiratoria se ha extendido rápidamente desde el
primer brote en la ciudad de Wuhan, provincia de Hubei, China, hasta 13 países.
El número de casos sospechosos reportados (sin caso confirmado) es actualmente
de 41 al 31 de enero. Por esta razón, la Organización Mundial de la Salud ha
declarado el brote como una emergencia mundial de salud pública.
No se sabe mucho sobre el virus, pero los Centros para el Control de
Enfermedades y otras agencias de salud y seguridad están trabajando las 24
horas para descubrir cómo se propaga la enfermedad, las formas en que se
presenta y otras características asociadas con el brote. El objetivo final es
controlar la propagación del virus y prevenir futuras infecciones.
A la luz de esto, OSHA ha lanzado un recurso en línea sobre el brote de
coronavirus con enlaces a los CDC y orientación sobre prevención, datos rápidos
sobre el brote e información sobre cómo prevenir las exposiciones. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/novel_coronavirus/index.html