Coronavirus (COVID-19) Precautions For Employers

Dickinson Wright

Dickinson Wright

It is now impossible to avoid the reality that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19, the “coronavirus”), is a “public health emergency of international concern,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”).[i]
据美国疾病控制与预防中心 (CDC) 称,现在已经无法避免 2019年新型冠状病毒病 ("新冠病毒") 成为 "国际关注的突发公共卫生事件" 这一事实。

The widespread transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S. “would translate into large numbers of people needing medical care at the same time.”[ii] This could result in significant adverse consequences, including disruption of the American workforce.
新冠病毒在美国的扩散 “将使大量的民众有同时就医的需求。” 这可能会导致严重的不利后果,包括美国劳动力的中断。

The CDC has developed interim guidance specifically for businesses and employers to reduce transmission and prepare for potential consequences related to the spread of the coronavirus. Employers are encouraged study the CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers available on the CDC’s webpage.

Recommended corporate actions include the following:

  • Actively encourage sick employees or employees with sick family members to stay home. Encourage telecommuting when possible;
  • Isolate and/or send home employees who are sick or who become sick during the workday;
  • Educate employees on coronavirus risk assessments[iii] and encourage sick employees to seek medical care;
  • Ensure sick leave policies are flexible, consistent with federal, state and local laws and consistent with public health guidance and understand that you may have to make exceptions for unique situations;
  • Provide awareness of sick leave policies to employees immediately and often;
  • Educate employees on respiratory etiquette (cough and sneeze cover) and hand hygiene;
    向员工普及呼吸礼仪 (咳嗽和打喷嚏) 以及手部卫生的教育知识;
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning and provide disposable wipes for employee cleaning use during the day;
  • Discourage travel to China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and cruise ship travel in Asia. Stay up to date on travel restrictions from the CDC.[1]
  • If an outbreak occurs in the U.S., be prepared to cancel all non-essential business travel and all non-essential large work-related meetings or events;
  • Identify essential business functions, jobs or roles, and elements within your supply chains required to maintain business operations. Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or supply chains are interrupted; and
  • Create (or refresh) an infectious disease outbreak response plan in writing now, recognizing that the plan’s scope and procedures may vary depending on unique business operations and needs.

Under OSHA, employers have a duty to provide a workplace “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”[iv] The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has also set up a site to help employers prepare for a potential coronavirus outbreak. Developing a plan to address a potential coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. now may help to keep employees healthy, alleviate public concern, and reduce corporate liability.
根据美国职业安全与健康管理局 ("OSHA") 的规定,雇主有义务提供一个 “不会造成或可能导致死亡或严重身体伤害的公认危险” 的工作场所。OSHA还建立了一个网站,以帮助雇主为潜在的新冠病毒疫情扩散做好准备。现在制定一个解决潜在的新冠病毒疫情扩散的计划可能有助于保持员工健康,减轻公众关注并减少企业责任。

The coronavirus situation is developing quickly. For the most up to date information concerning the coronavirus, refer to the CDC’s coronavirus webpage. In addition, we are providing the rolling update on the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 both in US and of China.

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[1] (accessed Feb. 28, 2020).

[ii] Id.

[iv] 29 U.S.C. 654(a)(1).

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