Senior Counsel Gina Fonte shared insight with Pew Trusts on the challenges facing business owners as states gradually lift coronavirus restrictions and employers scramble to get enough protective equipment to create safe work environments. Some states, counties and nonprofits have launched efforts to help businesses find and buy protective equipment. All employers are required by federal law to identify potential hazards in the workplace and take steps necessary to protecting their employees. Employers will have to pay even closer attention to those standards set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as the pandemic uniquely threatens workplaces across industries, she said. For example, office workplaces may require face masks and hand sanitizer now, which employers would be obligated by law to provide. That adds a hurdle for companies and employers, which now must source and buy personal protective equipment, known as PPE.
“The fact is that it’s hard to find personal protective equipment and more people need it,” Ms. Fonte said. “[COVID-19] certainly did create a lot of new PPE and safety requirements for employers and workplaces that might not have been prepared to deal with these issues.”
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