HR Policy Urges CDC to Address Specific Workplace Safety Questions

May 29, 2020

HR Policy asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a process for employers to receive detailed guidance on health and safety issues to safely reopen their workplaces.

The letter cosigned with a coalition of employer groups asks for an initial set of FAQs, including:

  • What should employers do to protect their employees when keeping them six feet apart is not possible?

  • What protocols does CDC recommend for testing of employees before reentering the workplace?  For instance: Which test(s) should employers use?  How frequently should employees be tested?  How should an employer isolate an employee who tests positive?

  • Should employers rely on employees self-testing at home?  Should employers rely on employees answering questionnaires regarding whether they are symptomatic, or their movements?

The letter also notes “CDC guidelines are central to how OSHA expects employers to comply with the General Duty Clause for protecting employees,” and “many issues are surfacing where more specific information and direction is needed.”

Outlook:  The CDC has already published some general FAQs and some agencies have provided forums for employers to submit questions they have regarding how to implement recently enacted COVID legislation.  HR Policy will continue to monitor CDC guidance and engage with the agency to address specific employer questions.