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May 2020's Converge Newsletter
COVID-19 Exposure Control and Response Plan: What Is It and Why Does Every Employer Need One?
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May 20, 2020 via Conn Maciel Carey
As states across the country begin to loosen or lift stay-at-home and shutdown orders, many workplaces that had been idled, have just begun to or will soon resume operations. Many states and localities are setting as a precondition for reopening, a requirement that they develop and implement a written, site-specific COVID-19 Exposure Control and Response Plan.

Regardless of any state or local requirement to develop such a plan, any business that operates without an Exposure Control Plan will be potentially exposed to a number of legal or business risks, such as an OSHA citation, being shutdown by a state or local health department, and/or becoming a target for a wrongful death action brought by families of employees, temporary workers, customers, vendors and/or guests. They should also plan to deal with a workforce that is scared and anxious about the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which may result in employees refusing to work (which would disrupt and complicate scheduling) and/or making regular and frequent complaints to OSHA about the purported unchecked hazard in your workplace.  Responding to these complaints will take time and cost money, distracting your business from its mission.  Retaliation claims under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act is another foreseeable consequence of a scared workforce.  Without an Exposure Control Plan in place, the legal vulnerabilities will be real and are potentially significant.
Conn Maciel Carey's ConvergeBlog
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Hotel Industry Turns to 9/11 Legal Framework to Navigate Pandemic Insurance

May 29, 2020 via Skift
The U.S. hotel and travel industries are turning to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, a measure signed into law in 2002 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as a model in crafting pandemic risk insurance for businesses in light of coronavirus.
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Can Employers Use COVID-19 Waivers To Limit Liability?

May 26, 2020 via Fisher Phillips

Such waivers, however, are somewhat limited in their effectiveness and employers should consider the pros and cons before attempting to implement them. You may also want to consider an alternate strategy that may offer you some of the assurances you seek without many of the negatives associated with waivers.
Fisher Phillips
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Reopening Closed Buildings: Legionella and Other Health Risks
May 12, 2020 via Eckert Seamans

Reopening a closed building, or portions of a building, after an extended shutdown can be more complicated than just unlocking the doors and turning on the lights. The unprecedented shutdowns and reduced operations at a wide variety of commercial buildings and structures, ranging from office buildings and retail stores to hotels and restaurants, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is an entirely unique situation. Building owners and operators need to be aware of health risks, and corresponding legal liability risks, that can result from building closures, specifically Legionella (the cause of Legionnaires’ disease) and mold.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance calling attention to the increased risk of Legionella and mold associated with temporary building shutdowns and reduced operations during COVID-19. The CDC warns that building inactivity resulting in reductions in normal water use and routine maintenance can give rise to microbial hazards for returning occupants.
Eckert Seaman
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