On November 30, 2020, emergency temporary COVID-19 workplace standards (“ETS”) issued by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) took effect.  The ETS, which requires stringent workplace protocols intended to curb the spread of COVID-19, applies to all California employers, other than those subject to the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Disease standard or those with only one employee at the workplace who does not have contact with others.  Under the ETS, employers must adopt and implement a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention program that includes identification and correction of COVID-19 risks, employee screening, investigation of cases, use of face coverings and other protective equipment, exclusion of exposed employees, and provision of free COVID-19 testing in certain circumstances, among other requirements.  The ETS also mandates testing and other action when there are multiple infections or an “outbreak” in a workplace.
Continue Reading California Employers Must Comply with New Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Workplace Safety Standards

EPA recently released a compliance advisory addressing UV lights that make claims to mitigate the novel coronavirus (or other viruses or bacteria), which the agency regulates as pesticidal devices under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  While the advisory largely reiterates past guidance relating to pesticidal devices, which this blog previously discussed, it does underscore that EPA is particularly focused on UV lights, and contains three important cautions for companies making claims that their UV light products kill the coronavirus or other microbes.
Continue Reading EPA Warns UV Light Companies About Coronavirus Claims

For the first time ever, EPA has approved a pesticide making residual antiviral claims under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The approval may be a significant boon in the fight against COVID-19, but it also raises several key questions about EPA’s broader approach to combatting the novel coronavirus.
Continue Reading EPA Issues Emergency Approval for First-Ever Residual Antiviral Product

Critiques of OSHA’s current flexible approach to COVID-19 in the workplace provide insight into how a Democratic administration might regulate differently at the federal level.  Moreover, some states have moved forward with establishing binding rules to address COVID-19 in the workplace, which may provide models for future federal efforts.
Continue Reading Non-binding OSHA COVID-19 Guidance Sparks Calls for Federal Action and Plans for State Action to Create Binding Rules

As businesses and commercial buildings reopen following shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Interagency Committee on Indoor Air Quality used their June 26 meeting to highlight recommendations on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system operation.
Continue Reading Federal Agencies Highlight COVID-19 Best Practices for HVAC Systems

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has announced plans to hold a two-day technical conference on July 8-9, 2020 regarding the ongoing impacts that the emergency conditions caused by COVID-19 are having on the United States’ energy industry.  FERC’s stated objective is to ensure the continued functioning of energy markets, electricity transmission, transportation of natural gas and oil and energy infrastructure reliability.
Continue Reading FERC Plans Conference on COVID-19 Impacts

EPA recently released a compliance advisory addressing pesticidal products that make claims to mitigate the novel coronavirus.  While the advisory largely reiterates past guidance relating to pesticides, EPA has increased its emphasis on pesticidal devices, such as UV lights and ozone generators, which are subject to their own distinct set of regulations.
Continue Reading EPA Provides Limited Guidance Relating to Pesticidal Devices and the Coronavirus

EPA on May 12 announced a new framework for reviewing and approving products for use against the novel coronavirus.  EPA’s framework explains which new product and existing product amendment requests will be expedited, and provides approximate timelines for EPA review and approval.  Because of continued high demand for disinfectant products, companies seeking to launch new products or amend existing registrations should take care to ensure that their requests will receive expedited treatment.  Seeking expedited treatment is particularly important given the concerns some companies have about making significant investments into EPA product registration, in light of the sometimes lengthy EPA-approval process.
Continue Reading Top 5 Takeaways From EPA’s New Policy on Expediting COVID-19 Disinfectant Approvals

EPA and the CDC on April 29 provided updated guidance on steps employers and businesses should take to disinfect their premises, as part of the “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.”  This provides important guidance for businesses to protect employees and members of the public, and to minimize potential liability arising out of coronavirus exposure in the workplace.
Continue Reading EPA and CDC Urge Employers to Establish Disinfection Plans as Part of COVID-19 Reopening