The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board is debating language about how best to protect workers in Virginia. We are grateful to the Governor for asking the Department of Labor and Industries to draft the standard.
Unfortunately, at the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board meeting on July 7, the Administration offered language to undermine the standard by allowing employers to follow CDC voluntary guidelines. These voluntary guidelines are suggestions. They include lots of "if possible" and "if feasible" language. Essentially, employers could simply say it is too hard to do social distancing or require masks, and then there would be no enforceable requirement. This is not what workers in Virginia need to be assured that they are safe at work.
Please urge the Governor to restore an equivalency provision to the standard, which says that the CDC guidelines can be followed only if they provide equal or greater protection than the VA COVID Emergency Temporary Standard.
The spread of COVID-19 in poultry plants (more than 1100 workers have contracted COVID-19 and 10 have died) is proof that the CDC guidelines have failed to protect workers. Voluntary standards are not a substitute for enforceable standards.
Please send an email to the Governor today.