May 25, 2020

U.S. Government Issues New Tools For Reopening, Worksite Safety

As states continue to allow more businesses to reopen, and as companies decide how to continue to operate in a COVID-19 environment, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Workplace Decision Tool that will help employers determine if they are in a position to open, or remain open, safely. The tool is a simple flow chart that poses questions about several factors employers are encouraged to consider.

While using the tool, the CDC stresses that businesses should check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions to take to meet the unique needs and circumstances of their local community.

The CDC also has released detailed guidelines for reopening the entire economy, including public transit and childcare centers (the availability of which will be important to metals industry employees). Click here read that guidance.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s American Workforce Policy Board, co-chaired by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump, met last week and issued a National Workforce Recovery Call-to-Action that calls for:

  • Expediting American workers’ return to employment and upward mobility by investing in career pathways and implementing skills-based hiring practices;
  • Removing obstacles to the modernization of education and training; and
  • Building the technological infrastructure necessary for the future of work.

Business groups and law firms also continue to develop new advice for companies that continue to operate or are opening again. These tools include:

  • An online information resource center from the Manufacturing Leadership Council that includes operational resources and shared practices. The Council discusses everything from workstation social distancing and site access practices to facilities and traffic management and illness and diagnosis response plans.
  • A memo from the HR Policy Association that discusses key laws to be aware of in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the National Labor Relations Act; state compensation laws and workers’ compensation laws; privacy issues; state and local scheduling laws; and duties under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Federal Family and Medical Leave, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The full memo is here. An executive summary is here.
  • An article from Winston & Strawn that examines labor and employment law as it relates to COVID-19.
  • An employer’s return to work checklist from the law firm Kelley-Drye.
  • Reopening Business Digital Resources Center from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) that will equip America’s business community with the latest state guidelines, sector-specific guidance, small business advice, and other tools and resources. This resource includes a customizable workplace flyer to communicate the steps companies are taking to keep employees safe.
  • Small Business Reopening Playbook, also from the USCC, which provides in-depth information and resources for reopening.