COVID-19 Resource Center

April 20, 2020

COVID-19: PA Department of Health Issues New Worker Safety Order for Essential Businesses

Effective 8 PM on April 19, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health implemented a new Order augmenting the safety precautions required by all life-sustaining businesses.  There has been some early confusion as to the level and extent of required compliance.  Make no mistake - this Order is intended to apply to all life-sustaining businesses and it does require a documented plan for address, compliance and enforcement of the new provisions which include but are not limited to:

  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting requirements;
  • A documented protocol for address of suspected or known exposures to COVID-19;
  • Implementation of temperature screening;
  • Staggered or flexible work schedules to prevent large groups from entering or leaving the business at the same time;
  • Provision of masks for all employees and, as appropriate, customers;
  • Installation of shields or barriers to physically separate employees from customers.

This is not an exhaustive list.  Each employer must review the Order and determine what appropriate protocols and enhancements are required for compliance.

WE HAVE ATTACHED A COPY OF THE ORDER TO THIS ARTICLE as the specific provisions will apply differently to businesses depending upon the nature of their ongoing enterprise.

Please review the Order, consider what additional steps your facility may need to take toward compliance and contact us to discuss a documented plan.  This Order has overlapping implications to various state and federal statutes including, but not limited to, Workers Compensation, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the FMLA, the FFCRA, OSHA and Wage and Hour regulations.

Do not underestimate the importance of this Order or the requirements for compliance and safety. Employers need to develop and document a plan, establish protocols that will demonstrate compliance with the Order, and designate oversight responsibilities.

As always, if you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Practice Group at 1-888-488-2638.