Washington – COVID-19 Incident Reports, Workers’ Comp, Wage and Leave Issues

Krishna Balasubramani | Sather Byerly and Holloway, Oregon and Washington Employment Law, Workers Compensation, Longshore, and OSHA Defense AttorneysWith the recent news of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington, we want to ensure everyone understands the guidelines for incident reports, workers’ compensation claims, and other employment-related concerns. We have created a Q&A to cover many questions Washington employers may have on this confusing and pressing issue.   When should an OSHA Injury and Illness incident report be filed? If an employer is aware of an exposure or an employee reports an exposure to a virus, this should be documented as a work incident. While the common cold and flu is exempt from OSHA recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness. OSHA COVID-19 Standards Employers should file an incident report if either: An employee has tested positive for COVID-19; or The… Continue reading

Federal Court Denies Injunction of OSHA Recordkeeping Rule

rebecca_watkinsOSHA issued a final rule regarding electronic recordkeeping that also included new anti-retaliation records. Read a prior blog post regarding this rule here: https://sbhlegal.com/new-osha-rules-address-post-accident-drug-testing-retaliation-claims-and-electronic-injuryillness-reporting/ A group of insurer and industry groups in Texas filed suit challenging OSHA’s authority to enact the anti-retaliation provisions of the new rule. They asked the court to enjoin OSHA from implementing the new rule until it could consider the merits of the challenge. Today, that federal court denied the motion for that preliminary injunction. The court found the plaintiffs failed to show that irreparable harm would result if the court did not stop implementation of the rule pending a final decision. As a result, the anti-retaliation provisions will go into effect on Thursday, December 1,… Continue reading

New OSHA Rules Address Post-Accident Drug Testing, Retaliation Claims, and Electronic Injury/Illness Reporting

stephen verotskyRecently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized new rules regarding recordkeeping/reporting and discrimination as it relates to drug testing employees following an injury. 81 Fed. Reg 29624. The new anti-discrimination/retaliation rule goes into effect on August 10, 2016. There is a longer phase-in period for electronic submission of injury data. The rule, adopted by federal OSHA, also applies to employers located in State Plan states, such as Oregon and Washington. Electronic Submission Injury and Illness Data The rule does not change the types of injuries or illnesses employers are already required to record. Covered employers already maintain records of their workplace injuries and illnesses. However, the majority of this data is not shared outside the… Continue reading

OSHA issues guidance on transgender bathrooms

rebecca_watkinsOn June 1st, OSHA issued a new guide for employers regarding restroom access for transgender employees. The guide falls under OSHA’s sanitation standard that requires employers to provide toilet facilities – a standard that recognizes adverse health effects from the lack of such facilities. OSHA set out a model practice that would protect all employees’ access to prompt and appropriate facilities, based on a belief that employees should have the ability to use facilities corresponding to their gender identity. OSHA instructs that employees should not have to use a special facility apart from options available to other employees because of their gender identity. Employees also should not be asked to “prove” their gender identity. The… Continue reading