New Jersey has enacted Executive Order 192, which establishes specific health and safety measures for employers during COVID-19. Executive Order 192 takes effect November 5, 2020.
Health & Safety Requirements:
Under the Order, employers must adhere to the following health and safety protocols:
- Require social distancing. Require that individuals at the worksite maintain at least six feet of distance from one another to the maximum extent possible, including but not limited to during worksite meetings, orientations and similar activities that would traditionally require individuals to be present in a single room or space, in common areas such as restrooms and breakrooms, and when individuals are entering and exiting the workplace. When the nature of an employee's work or the work area does not allow for six feet of distance, employers must ensure that employees wear a mask and install physical barriers between workstations wherever possible.
- Provide sanitization. Employers must provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and EPA approved sanitizing wipes at no cost to employees and visitors.
- Require face coverings for customers and visitors. Require customers and visitors wear a cloth or disposable face mask, except when the individual is under two years of age or when it's impractical for an individual to do so. Employers may deny entry to the worksite to any customer or visitor who declines to wear a face mask, except when doing so would violate state or federal law. When a customer or visitor cannot wear a mask because of a disability, an employer may be required to provide them with a reasonable accommodation.
- Require face coverings for employees. Employers must require employees to wear a face covering and provide such coverings at the employer's expense. Employers may permit employees to remove face masks when the employees are situated at their workstations and are more than six feet from other individuals, or when an individual is alone in a walled office. Employers may deny entry to the worksite to any employee who declines to wear a face mask, except when doing so would violate state or federal law. When an employee cannot wear a mask because of a disability, an employer may be required to provide the employee with a reasonable accommodation. An employer may require an employee to produce medical documentation to support a claim that they are unable to wear a face mask because of a disability.
- Enforce hygiene standards. Ensure that employees practice regular hand hygiene, particularly when interacting with the public, and provide employees break time for repeated handwashing throughout the workday and access to adequate hand washing facilities. Employers may adopt policies that require employees to wear gloves in addition to regular hand hygiene. Where an employer requires its employees to wear gloves while at the worksite, the employer must provide such gloves to employees.
- Clean and disinfect. Routinely clean and disinfect high-touch areas, such as restrooms, handrails, door knobs, and safety equipment in accordance with Department of Health (DOH) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
- Conduct daily health checks. Prior to each 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.
- Send symptomatic employees home. Employers must immediately separate and send home employees who appear to have COVID-19 symptoms, as defined by the CDC, upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day.
- Notify employees exposed to COVID-19. Employers are required to immediately notify all employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 consistent with confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable laws.
The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development (DOLWD) is directed to provide compliance and safety training for employers and employees, focused at least in part on the health and safety protocols outlined in the Order.
The DOLWD is authorized to establish an intake mechanism to receive complaints from individuals working in the state and establish a process to address such complaints. Such a process, at minimum, must provide employers with an opportunity to correct the alleged or confirmed deficiency.
New Jersey employers should read Executive Order 192 in full and ensure employees receive training on all workplace safety protocols. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.