As vaccines have been rolling out and availability has expanded, many or most of our customers and employees have developed some immunity but we can’t drop the procedures just yet. We have OSHA to deal with and they’ve stepped it up a notch and probably have more to come.
President Biden promised a Emergency Temporary Standard by March 15th. Well that didn’t quite happen but OSHA has circulated a draft internally from well informed reports. In its place, they published a national emphasis program for targeted industries. Cotton gins and agriculture in general is not in the targeted group but don’t be surprised if you have to answer questions about Covid procedures and protocols if you have to have an interaction with OSHA for the foreseeable future.
While life for most of cotton country is getting back to a semblance of ‘normal’ we need to be aware that this will have a long tail I’m afraid. We should expect to have outbreaks and rules and regs lingering. We still have people working for us out there that have underlying conditions and have not had covid or been vaccinated. We need to do what we can to help protect them at least while they’re at work.
To get a hint of what will likely be in a “temporary standard” please go to https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/safework. Virginia is one of the first State Plan States to have a permanent standard for Covid. We’ve written about this previously and as we get a better picture on enforcement in Virginia, we’ll likely write about it again.
As we get into repair season, lets do our best to keep Covid out of the gin and keep our year-round employees safe.