On July 27, Virginia became the first state to issue statewide safety regulations regarding COVID-19. The emergency temporary standard (ETS) enforces new rules regarding workplace social distancing, face coverings, and accessible hand washing or sanitizing stations, according to Construction Dive. Virginia may not be the only state who does so, as Oregon has released a timeline for their ETS planned to go into effect Sept. 1. Just as the name suggests, Virginia’s regulations are temporary and will be active for six months. The Construction Industry Safety Coalition shared their fears, stating that the ETS does not account for construction work and the regulations may not work on jobsites.
The Virginia standard also requires employers to notify all employees within 24 hours if a coworker tests positive for COVID-19. Employees who test positive or who are suspected to be positive must not report to work for 10 days or until they receive two consecutive negative tests.
The Construction Industry Safety Coalition, a group of construction associations, submitted concerns to the Virginia Department of Labor in June, saying that it does not believe that evidence supports application of such a wide range of requirements to the construction industry, which has taken strides to address COVID-19.