Matthew Deffebach in HR Magazine: ‘Here’s What Employers Need to Know About OSHA’s COVID-19 Directives’

June 14, 2021
Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner Matthew Thomas Deffebach talked with HR Magazine about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 emergency temporary standards that protect frontline workers.

Below is an excerpt:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its highly anticipated COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS), which applies only to the healthcare industry, on June 10. The agency also provided detailed recommendations for other employers on protecting unvaccinated and at-risk workers as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Matthew Deffebach, an attorney with Haynes and Boone in Houston, noted that the guidance is helpful for the employer community but raises challenges on how to manage two populations in the workplace: vaccinated and unvaccinated employees.

The ETS appears to be very consistent with existing OSHA guidance on COVID-19 workplace safety, Deffebach noted, but the new mandate may give OSHA "greater enforcement teeth" than under the Occupational Safety and Health Act's general duty clause, which requires employers to provide a work environment that is "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm."

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