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Virginia adopts emergency workplace safety rules

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry adopted emergency workplace safety rules last week to help protect Virginia workers from the spread of COVID-19.

According to a July 15 news release from the office of Gov. Ralph Northam, these are the first such rules adopted in the United States.

The rules, anticipated to take effect during the week of July 27, are designed to protect workers by mandating appropriate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infectious disease preparedness and response plans, record keeping, training, and hazard communications in workplaces across Virginia.

The rules, to be posted on, for now are temporary emergency standards which will remain in effect for six months. They can be made permanent through a process enabled by state law, the news release said.

The newly adopted standards require all employers to mandate social distancing measures and face coverings for employees in customer-facing positions....

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