COVID-19 Regulatory Developments: Update 16


12 August 2020

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in countries adapting their regulatory landscape to accommodate and mitigate the unprecedented disruptions to companies and individuals. Through regular updates, Compliance & Risks will closely monitor the situation and inform our clients of the latest global regulatory developments in relation to COVID-19 relevant to their topics, along with updates on items which may be of interest outside our topics.

EH&S: Occupational Health and Safety

In Victoria State (Australia), the Governor in Council adopted the Occupational Health and Safety (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 requiring employers to notify WorkSafe Victoria immediately after becoming aware that an employee or independent contractor has received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and has attended the workplace within the infectious period. The notification shall be carried out in accordance with the reporting procedure referred to under Pursuant to section 38 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic.)

The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba introduced a Bill establishing a presumption of occupational disease for workers who test positive for COVID-19 within two weeks after attending their workplace. The Bill was introduced for first reading on 13 March 2020.

The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety has released a large number of sectorial COVID-19 tip sheets to help businesses and organizations operate during the pandemic, including guidance documents for the construction and manufacturing sectors. Each document is intended to be used as guidance offering health and safety recommendations and good practices for employers. General tip sheets also address issues related to standard operating procedures for disinfecting touch points and similar tip sheets on respirators, surgical masks and non-medical masks.

In the United States, House Representative Mr. Graves of Louisiana et al., proposed a Bill to limit the civil liability of persons for the spread or possible transmission of COVID-19 caused by an act or omission while acting in good faith during the emergency period. Subject to certain limitations, the immunity from COVID-19 related lawsuits would cover individuals (including employers), businesses, trusts, associations, universities, schools as well as non-profit organizations, and apply from 1 January 2020 until the date that is 18 months after the end of the emergency period. Employers shall be deemed to have acted in good faith if they make reasonable effort to act in compliance with applicable Federal, local, territorial guidance and/or appropriate professional or industry standards, guidance and recommendations.

Data Protection

On 29 July 2020, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) opened a consultation period for a proposed Corporate Governance Guidebook for Personal Data Protection. This document is targeted at companies that provide products/services by utilizing personal data that are expected to consider the privacy of consumers. Among other things, this consultation contains provisions surrounding prevention measures against COVID-19 and the use of personal data. The deadline for comments is 12 August 2020 and comments can be submitted here.

Developments for Medical Devices and PPE

The FDA has announced the availability of new guidance documents related to the COVID–19 public health emergency (PHE). While these documents have been implemented immediately without prior comments, public comments may be submitted in written or through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. The list of additional COVID-19 related guidance documents is available here.