May 19 President Trump issued an executive order (EO) intended to ease the federal regulatory burden on employers as the economy begins to reopen. Among its provisions, the EO requires agencies to consider taking action to temporarily or permanently rescind, modify, or waive regulations that may inhibit economic growth. The EO also instructs agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to consider the regulated entities’ reasonable good faith efforts to comply with existing guidance and regulations in enforcement proceedings, as many are complex and regularly changing in response to the COVID-19 situation.
Additionally, OSHA recently revised two April policies relating to its enforcement protocols and the recording of COVID-19 transmissions in the workplace. OSHA will now require employers to determine whether a case of COVID-19 in the workplace is work-related as defined by OSHA regulations. The revisions took effect on May 26.