Just when you thought we were done with the pandemic, Republican State Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson has launched new proposed rules that deal with “airborne infectious disease” emergencies. These rules are not yet final or certain. They must first go through the public hearing/ commenting stage.
The new proposed rules are found here, pages 833-840.
What does this regulation force upon employers in the state of North Carolina?
- It defers to the World Health Organization, the federal CDC and the US Department of Health and Services numerous times on various technical issues
- It calls an emergency when nearly any other governmental entity calls an emergency
- It mandates social distancing, masking and PPE in the workplace
- It requires providing and maintaining respirators, and running an OSHA-mandated respirator program
- It requires certain processes to be followed when employees develop symptoms or a respiratory illness
- It mandates how employers must decide when sick employees can return to work
- It has rigorous requirements for cleaning surfaces, doorknobs, elevator buttons and the like
- It mandates an Exposure Control Plan to be prepared by employers, employee training and certain recordkeeping
- It mandates changes in ventilation and HVAC filters used
There are other provisions also.
It would be interesting to know what machinations behind the scenes motivated a Republican Labor Commissioner to propose such rules. This arose nearly out of nowhere, and will tie up employers statewide in knots if allowed to proceed. That is presumably the intent.
Update: Carolina Journal has additional details. And Jon Hardister, who is running to replace Mr. Dobson, has comments below.