At 6:00 a.m. on November 5, 2020, Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 192 (“E.O. 192”) takes effect. E.O. 192 imposes mandatory health and safety protocols to help guard against the continuing spread of COVID-19. These mandates apply to all employers who require or permit any employee to be physically present at a worksite. The protocols include mandatory social distancing; requiring that all employees, customers, or visitors who enter the worksite wear masks; and providing breaks for employees “for repeated handwashing throughout the workday.”
Executive Order 192
The safety protocol required by E.O. 192 that has raised the most questions from our clients is the one requiring daily health checks of employees Specifically, prior to each work shift, employers are required to “conduct daily health checks of employees such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance….”
The CDC has provided guidance that employers should “[c]onsider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks (e.g., symptom and/or temperature screening) of employees as they report to work….
Screening options could include having employees self-screen prior to arriving at work or having on-site screening by taking an employee’s temperature and assessing potential symptoms prior to traveling or reporting to worksites for inspections (see CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers).”
The CDC further advises that employers consider “encouraging individuals planning to enter the workplace to self-screen prior to coming onsite and not to attempt to enter the workplace if any of the following are present:
- Symptoms of COVID-19
- Fever equal to or higher than 100.4oF
- Are under evaluation for COVID-19 (for example, waiting for the results of a viral test to confirm infection)
- Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and not yet cleared to discontinue isolation”
Daily Health Checks
Employers who choose to have employees self-screen appear to have several options. A self-assessment tool is available at https://covid19.nj.gov/forms/self. Employees can also be required to answer health questionnaires or checklists that track information relating to COVID-19 symptoms or exposures. Either method can be done by employees on their own at home before they report to work. The issue for employers who adopt this method is to monitor and ensure employee compliance.
We believe that a global email instructing all employees who are coming to work to conduct the daily health screen would be step one. The email would
- Explain the requirements of E.O. 192
- Provide access to the self-screening device (checklist, online assessment tool, or questionnaire)
- Instruct employees that they are required to self-screen every day before coming to work
If the answer to any question indicates the potential presence of or exposure to COVID-19, the employee would be required to contact a point person designated by the employer before coming to the office.
Employers can either collect their employees’ responses (although this is not specifically required under E.O. 192) or at a minimum, send out regular, weekly reminders to employees to conduct the daily self-assessment. The important message to employers is to be vigilant in monitoring compliance with this and all of the requirements of E.O. 192.
If you have any questions about this post or any other related labor and employment matters, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. For more information related to COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus Thought Leadership Connection.
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