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Employee Right to Know About Infectious Diseases

Since 1983, Minnesota law has required employers to have a written Employee-Right-to-Know Program (ERTKP). The ERTKP covers hazardous substances, harmful physical agents and infectious agents. With COVID-19 now is the time to make certain you have an ERTKP and implement it. As part of your ERTKP you must have training made available at no cost to your employees. If you have not conducted training in the previous year, schedule it immediately. Your business is required to have training updates yearly. If you already have provided the initial training, your training updates may be brief summaries of information from previous training sessions. However, since the COVID-19 is new, you will not be able to most likely rely on previous training sessions to provide training updates as to COVID-19.

The requirements under the ERTKP are numerous. However, your written program must include at a minimum the following:

“B.  The employer shall develop and implement a written Employee Right-to-Know program which, at a minimum, describes how the training, availability of information, and labeling provisions of this chapter will be met for hazardous substances, harmful physical agents, and infectious agents. The written program shall also include:

(1) A list of the hazardous substances known to be present using an identity that is referenced on the appropriate material safety data sheet. The list may be compiled for the workplace as a whole or for individual work areas.

(2) The methods the employer will use to inform employees of the hazards of infrequent tasks that involve exposure to hazardous substances, harmful physical agents, or infectious agents and the hazards associated with hazardous substances contained in unlabeled pipes in their work areas.

(3) Employers shall make the written Employee Right-to-Know program available, upon request, to employees, their designated representatives, and representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health Division.

(4) For infectious agents, a written exposure control plan that meets the requirements of Code of Federal Regulations, title 29, section 1910.1030, and covers all infectious agents to which employees may be exposed in the workplace meets the requirements of this chapter.”

Minn. Rule 5206.0700, subpart 1(B)

Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP assists business owners with employee issues including compliance with the Employee Right-to-Know.

The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.