Virginia Adopts First Permanent Workplace Virus Rule in U.S.

January 14, 2021

ISSA has updated its COVID-19 Emergency Workplace Standards resource to include information about Virginia becoming the first state in the nation to enact a permanent rule requiring employers to take steps to protect workers from COVID-19 infection on the job.

The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board voted 9-4 to approve the measure on January 13, ensuring protections for workers will continue when the state’s emergency temporary standard expires on January 26. Virginia was the first U.S. state to enact a temporary COVID-19 emergency workplace rule last year, sparking a trend of states taking similar action in the absence of such a move by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The permanent rule largely mirrors the temporary standard, which groups jobs into categories of high, medium, and low exposure risk. It continues a requirement for employers to create a workplace infection protection program and to train workers on how to comply. In addition, the standard sets mandates for on-the-job social distancing, cleaning, and wearing of face masks.

The permanent rule is expected to be implemented before January 26; the new rule is poised to take effect following a review by the office of Governor Ralph Northam (D) and publication in a Richmond, Virginia print newspaper.

ISSA is working diligently to support the full spectrum of the cleaning industry in the U.S. and around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing a variety of government affairs resources. To learn more about workplace standards as part of the U.S. federal response to COVID-19, register for ISSA’s virtual 2021 Clean Advocacy Summit, March 30-31, in conjunction with National Cleaning Week. For questions regarding ISSA advocacy, including workplace standards and the Clean Advocacy Summit, please contact ISSA Director of Government Affairs John Nothdurft.