May 21, 2020

COVID-19: PA Department of Health Issues Open and Re-Open Business Form

Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued the attached Form titled, “COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses”.  This form provides in pertinent part:

All businesses in the Commonwealth that elect to maintain in-person operations, if permitted to operate under the Orders of the Governor and Secretary of Health, must strictly adhere to the guidance published by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and must prominently display this notice and the foregoing COVID-19 SAFETY PROCEDURES FOR BUSINESSES at each work location (building or worksite).

This Form must be reviewed and executed by all Employers currently doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  This Form does not supplant the county-by-county designation and corresponding restrictions for businesses as established by the Commonwealth and Governor Wolf.  Execution and posting of this Form does not, in and of itself, allow businesses to re-open. It is a requirement for businesses that have been permitted to reopen or to continue to operate in some capacity.

This Form carries two (2) additional requirements or action steps.  First, employers must designate A Pandemic Safety Officer.  The Form specifically provides:

Each business must, for each work location (building or worksite), identify a Pandemic Safety Officer to respond to employee and subcontractor questions regarding these requirements.

In addition, this form must be prominently posted or displayed in each work location. Specifically, this Form must be reviewed, executed and prominently displayed in a conspicuous location in your place of employment.  Best practice is to provide a copy of this Form in any location where visitors and/or Employees will see the Notice, i.e., reception and/or lunch room.  This practice must be completed at every worksite or business location.

This Form incorporates CDC and OSHA guidelines for the safe return to work and the maintenance of a safe work environment.  Our office has prepared and provided an Acknowledgement consistent with OSHA and CDC guidelines to be reviewed and executed by Employees.  That Form is not specifically required by the Commonwealth for the operation of your business; however, it does, by its content, demonstrate the Employees’ understanding of the safety requirements and their commitment to adherence to same.  Combined, these documents provide affirmative defenses to Employers should future allegations of unsafe work environment or unsafe work practices be levied.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns related to these topics, or if you would like a business appropriate version of the Employee Acknowledgement, please do not hesitate to contact one of our attorneys in our Employment Law Group at 1-888-488-2638-