Covid

Are You Required To Provide COVID-19 Training to Your Employees? A State-by-State Guide

Deanna deBara Freelance writer and journalist 
colleagues in masks talking

As businesses across the country move forward with reopening, you want to do everything you can to keep your employees safe—and that includes training them on COVID-19 safety protocols, procedures, and best practices.

While you may be totally on board with the idea of training your employees on how to stay safe at work, you likely have some questions on how, exactly, to do that—and whether your state has any requirements or recommendations around employee training. That’s right; depending on where your business operates, you may be required to train your employees according to state guidelines. 

So, does your state have any COVID-19 training guidelines in place? Let’s take a state-by-state look. Below, we’ll cover:

  • Whether each state has issued guidance
  • Which agencies within the state have issued the guidance
  • Whether the guidance is simply suggested or required
  • Which industries are expected to adhere to the state guidance

Also, we’ll let you know where you can get more information on any employee training requirements or recommendations. Keep reading to learn more about your responsibilities as an employer during the pandemic. 

Alabama

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? No
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? n/a 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? n/a
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? n/a

To date, Alabama has not issued any guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training for their employees.

Alaska

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance?  The Alaska Occupational Safety and Health (AKOSH)
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

The Alaska Occupational Safety and Health (AKOSH) website offers a variety of resources for employers on COVID-19, including a presentation on Protecting the Health and Safety of Workers During COVID-19, which recommends training “all workers about their risk of occupational exposure to COVID-19 as well as what to do if they have traveled to a high-risk area or been exposed to possible cases.” Another useful presentation, Opening Alaska Safely, recommends employers provide employee training on any relevant health mandates and mitigation plans. In addition, the state has issued industry-specific best practices, like this guidance on Construction Site Best Practices.

Arizona

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Governor Douglas Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

Governor Douglas Ducey issued an executive order that mandates all employers to “develop, establish and implement policies based on guidance from the CDC, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and ADHS to limit and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” 

While the executive order doesn’t specifically mention employee training, the Arizona Department of Health Services has released industry-specific reopening guidelines (including guidelines for indoor gyms and fitness centers, restaurants, bars and nightclubs not operating as a restaurant, and indoor theaters) that require employers to train their team on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, social distancing, and other safety measures.

Arkansas

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? No
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? n/a 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? n/a
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? n/a

To date, Arkansas has not issued any guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training for their employees.

California

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Cal/OSHA
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

The State of California has issued a COVID-19 Employer Playbook that requires all employers to implement a COVID-19 preparedness, response, and control plan that includes effective training for workers, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Cal/OSHA has also released industry-specific guidelines for 31 different industries with more detailed information on employee training. Also, California has specific instructions for businesses who are covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard which include hospitals, clinics, medical facilities, labs, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, funeral homes, and more. 

Colorado

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

Colorado has issued industry-specific guidance for 20 different industries, some of which have requirements for employers on training their employees (for example, employers in the restaurant and food services industry must “provide guidance, training, and ongoing training on maintaining 6 foot distancing between employees to the greatest extent possible in all areas of operation” while any employers hosting indoor events must “train employees in proper use of protective equipment, and emphasize that they should refrain from face-touching.”)

Connecticut

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance?  Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

The Reopen Connecticut initiative provided detailed Sector Rules and Certification for Reopening. In order for businesses to reopen in Connecticut, businesses must self-certify that they are following strict safety guidelines to protect workers and customers and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many of the Phase II reopening guidelines require businesses to provide training to their employees, including protocols on how to effectively clean work areas. 

The State has also issued a Small Business Reopening Resource Guide with additional employee training resources, including a detailed list of training topics (including training on PPE, respiratory etiquette, and how to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms). 

Delaware

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? No
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? n/a 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? n/a
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? n/a

To date, Delaware has not yet issued any guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training for their employees.

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District of Columbia

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Mayor Muriel Bowser
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

The District of Columbia has released industry-specific Phase II reopening guidelines—many of which contain training requirements (for example, restaurants are required to train all employees on proper cleaning procedures while retail businesses are required to educate employees on COVID-19 and construction sites must provide worker training in accordance with COVID-19 job safety plans and instruct subcontractors and suppliers on workplace safety protocols, including social distancing, hand hygiene, and face covering requirements). See the list and scroll down to find your industry and learn what your requirements are. 

Florida

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? No
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? n/a 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? n/a
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? n/a

To date, Florida has not yet issued any guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training for their employees.

Georgia

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Both
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

While The Georgia Department of Health’s more general guidelines for businesses and employers on COVID-19 do not include guidance on employer training, many of the state’s industry-specific guidelines offer suggestions on training your employees on COVID safety measures (for example, the amusement park guidelines suggest “providing online training programs for workers instructing them on how to stay safe and keep patrons safe” while restaurants are required to “train all employees on the importance and expectation of increased frequency of handwashing, the use of hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol, and provide clear instruction to avoid touching hands to face”). 

Hawaii

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? No
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? n/a 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? n/a
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? n/a

To date, Hawaii has not yet issued any guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training for their employees.

Idaho

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Idaho Division of Human Resources
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

The Idaho Division of Human Resources created a Return to Work guide to help businesses get back to work safely. The guide includes a section on maintaining healthy business operations, which says employers should “train employees on any new policies implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19.” This may include proper use of PPE, hand hygiene, and social distancing. 

Illinois

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity released a Checklist for Businesses, which outlines requirements for Phase 4 reopening—including requirements on employee training. Upon their initial return to work, all employees in the State of Illinois must complete a COVID-19 health and safety training, which includes training on sources of COVID-19 exposure, best practices to reduce exposure, and reporting of possible COVID-19 cases in the workplace. 

In addition to the general health and safety training all employees must complete, the state has also released industry-specific guidelines, many of which contain additional training requirements.

Indiana

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Back on Track Indiana
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

Back on Track Indiana, Governor Eric Holcomb’s initiative to reopen Indiana safely, issued a number of industry-specific safety guidelines—many of which include suggestions on training (for example, the guidelines for retail businesses suggest employers “train employees on importance of hygiene and sanitation” while the guidelines for restaurants suggest employers “provide food handling refresher training to all employees”). 

Iowa

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? OSHA
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

The State of Iowa has adopted Federal OSHA Standards for their reopening—and, as such, employers should follow existing OSHA guidelines on safely reopening. OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 suggests employers “provide adequate, usable, and appropriate training, education, and informational material about business-essential job functions and worker health and safety, including proper hygiene practices and the use of any workplace controls (including PPE).

Kansas

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? OSHA
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

Similar to Iowa, the Kansas Department of Labor has also adopted OSHA guidelines for workplace safety—and, as such, businesses should follow OSHA-suggested training protocols. 

Kentucky

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Kentucky Healthy at Work
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

Under Governor Andy Beshear’s Healthy at Work initiative, all businesses in the State of Kentucky must meet the initiative’s minimum requirements for reopening. Under the state’s minimum requirements, all businesses’ “must educate and train all individuals, including employees, temporary employees, contractors, vendors, customers, etc., regarding the Healthy at Work protocols.”

Certain industries also have additional training requirements for reopening (for example, retail employers are required to train their employees on PPE, including “when to use PPE; what PPE is necessary; and how to properly put on, use, and remove PPE”). 

Louisiana

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? The Office of the Governor and OpenSafely
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

While OpenSafely, the state of Louisiana’s initiative aimed to help businesses reopen safely, has issued industry-specific guidance around reopening, most of that guidance does not include suggestions or requirements around employee training, with one exception: fitness centers are required to train a crowd manager to control social distancing and enforce mask policies.

Maine

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Maine Department of Economic & Community Development
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

The Main Department of Economic & Community Development has issued industry-specific prevention checklists that outline requirements businesses must meet to open and operate safely during the pandemic—and that training requirements. Once employers are in full compliance with their industry’s guidelines (including providing all necessary training to employees), they’ll need to complete and submit the COVID-19 Checklist Compliance Form

Maryland

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

Part of Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery, Governor Larry Hogan’s COVID-19 initiative, is the Maryland Strong: Back to Business Pledge, which encourages businesses to “provide training and education and clearly communicate policies and procedures to employees.” 

In addition, Maryland Strong has also issued safety best practices for a variety of industries, which also include recommendations for employee training (for example, manufacturing employers are encouraged to “train employees in current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines to include procedures for social distancing, timeclock usage, use of common areas, disinfecting expectations and proper PPE usage,” while all retail employees should “should be trained in and understand current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines, such as hand hygiene and cleaning protocol, along with proper PPE use and disposal”). 

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Massachusetts

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? State of Massachusetts
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

In order to reopen in Massachusetts, all businesses must comply with the state’s mandatory safety standards for workplaces, which requires employers to “provide training for employees regarding the social distancing and hygiene protocols.” 

In addition to the general safety standard requirements, the state has also issued industry-specifics safety protocols that include additional requirements for certain types of businesses (for example, fitness centers and health clubs and businesses that provide close personal contact services are required to “Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission…self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks”). 

Michigan

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Security, and MIOSHA
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order that requires all employers to provide COVID-19 training to their employees that, at a minimum, covers “workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protective equipment, steps the employee must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, [and] how to report unsafe working conditions.” 

In addition, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and MIOSHA have jointly issued additional guidelines by industry—some of which contain further guidance on employee training.

Minnesota

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Stay Safe MN
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

Minnesota’s Stay Safe MN initiative issued general industry guidelines that require all businesses to establish a COVID-19 preparedness plan, which includes training protocols. Under the guidelines, “all workers and members of management must be trained regarding COVID-19 exposure, as well as applicable policies, procedures, practices, and protocols.”

Mississippi

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Governor Tate Reeves
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has issued a series of Executive Orders and Ordinances on COVID-19 safety, although the only training guidelines that seem to be current (and haven’t yet expired) are from Executive Order 1492, which states that, for Indoor Recreational and Places of Amusement, “all employees shall be provided training regarding minimizing the spread of COVID-19, including reinforcement of proper sanitation, hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, and using PPE.”

Missouri

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? No
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? n/a 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? n/a
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? n/a

To date, Missouri has not yet issued any guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training for their employees.

Montana

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance?  Governor Steve Bullock and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

Governor Steve Bullock and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services issued Reopening Directives that outlined general safety protocols as well as industry-specific training requirements (for example, employees that work at restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, or casinos “must be trained in proper sanitation practices” while gyms and fitness studios and places of assembly—like bowling alleys and concert venues—must “train workers on symptom awareness and proper handwashing techniques”). The DPHHS also recommends employers follow CDC and OSHA guidelines surrounding COVID-19 protocols.

Nebraska

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has issued reopening guidelines and best practices for a variety of industries—many of which include guidelines on employee training. For example, the guidelines for barbers and salons suggest employers “enhance employee safety training, emphasizing hygiene etiquette (avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth), and proper hand hygiene including washing hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after any sneezing or coughing, or after touching high touch surfaces (e.g., door handles, chairs, and tables)” while the restaurant guidelines recommend employers “ensure proper training for food employees with new or altered duties and that they apply the training according to established procedures.”

Nevada

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? State of Nevada Department of Business and Industry, Division of Industrial Relations, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

Multiple departments in Nevada’s State Government (Department of Business and Industry, Division of Industrial Relations, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration) jointly issued safety guidance for all businesses operational during the state’s Phase 2 reopening. Under the current guidance, employers are required to complete a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) for any task where social distancing isn’t possible or practical, which includes developing a plan to address the hazard. Once that plan is in place, “training must be provided to staff for any policy, practice, or protocol that is used to address the hazard.”

New Hampshire

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? New Hampshire Safer at Home
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

New Hampshire’s Safer at Home Universal Guidelines requires that all employers develop policies and procedures on cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces (like door handles, counters, or tables)—and then train all employees on those policies prior to assigning any cleaning or disinfection-related tasks. 

In addition to the Universal Guidelines, Safer at Home also issued industry-specific reopening guidelines, some of which include training requirements (for example, retail employers must “provide training on cloth face coverings based on CDC guidance for Use of Cloth Face Coverings,” while restaurants must “provide ServSafe COVID-19 training or its equivalent as soon as possible to all employees” and “educate, inform, and instruct employees and customers about new policies and procedures related to hand hygiene, cloth face covering use, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, illness policies”). 

New Jersey

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? CDC and OSHA
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

While the State of New Jersey hasn’t issued its own guidance on employer-provided COVID-19 training, the state advises all businesses to follow both CDC business guidance and OSHA workplace guidance, which includes guidance on employee training.

New Mexico

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? New Mexico Department of Health
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

The New Mexico Department of Health issued COVID Safe Practices that require all employers to “train all employees on daily cleaning and disinfecting protocol, hygiene, and respiratory etiquette [like covering coughs].”

New York

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? New York Forward
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Both
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

New York Forward, the state’s reopening initiative, has issued both mandated and recommended industry-specific training protocols for Phase 4 reopening (for example, any businesses located in a mall “must train employees on how to put on, take off, clean and discard PPE, including face coverings,” while the state recommends gyms “develop a communications plan that includes applicable instructions [and] training”). 

North Carolina

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? No
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? n/a 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? n/a
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? n/a

To date, North Carolina has not yet issued any guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training for their employees.

North Dakota

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? North Dakota Department of Health and the Department of Commerce in conjunction with the Governor’s Office
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

The ND Smart Restart Plan, prepared by the North Dakota Department of Health and the Department of Commerce in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, suggests employers provide COVID-related safety training to employees, including training on employee health policies, PPE, and restricting visitors and non-essential personnel. Employers should also train any employees responsible for cleaning and disinfecting on both proper cleaning procedures and (in accordance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard) the hazards of any relevant cleaning chemicals.

Ohio

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? No
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? n/a 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? n/a
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? n/a

To date, Ohio has not yet issued any guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training for their employees.

Oklahoma

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? No
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? n/a 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? n/a
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? n/a

To date, Oklahoma has not yet issued any guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training for their employees.

Oregon

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Oregon Health Authority
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

The Oregon Health Authority has issued guidance that requires all employers in the state to “train all employees in safety requirements and expectations while at worksites.”

Pennsylvania

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Governor Tom Wolf
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued guidance for businesses on how to navigate COVID-19, which includes a safety checklist that instructs employers to “train your workers about symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if they feel sick.  Make sure they understand the new safety measures everyone must follow.”

Rhode Island

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Rhode Island Department of Health
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

The Rhode Island Department of Health issued COVID-19 safety guidelines that requires employers to “develop, maintain, and ensure compliance with a written plan for the safe operation of its establishment(s) with regard to COVID-19 during the state of emergency.” The guidelines also mandate that “all employees shall be trained to follow the standards and requirements of these regulations and new employees shall be trained as they are hired.”

South Carolina

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? South Carolina Department of Commerce
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

The South Carolina Department of Commerce issued guidelines for reopening the state’s hospitality industry, which suggests businesses in the industry (including restaurants) “continue and enhance employee safety training, highly emphasizing proper hand washing and hygiene etiquette.”

South Dakota

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? South Dakota Department of Health
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

The South Dakota Department of Health has issued a number of industry-specific back-to-business checklists, most of which provide guidance on employee training (for example, employers in the retail, hotel and lodging, and manufacturing industries are encouraged to “educate staff on COVID safety training, presentation, or information shared”). 

Tennessee

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Governor Bill Lee
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has encouraged all businesses in the state to sign the Tennessee Pledge, which recommends that “employers should provide training, educational materials, and reinforcement on proper sanitization, handwashing, cough and sneeze etiquette, use of PPE, and other protective behaviors to their employees on a regular basis.”

In addition to the Pledge, the Governor’s office has also issued industry-specific guidelines for reopening, many of which include additional guidance on employee training (for example, the restaurant guidelines suggest employers “Provide ServSafe COVID-19 training for all food handlers as soon as possible” while exercise facilities are encouraged to Provide training on personal protective equipment based on CDC guidelines”). 

Texas

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Governor Greg Abbott 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

Texas State Governor Greg Abbott issued a plan to reopen Texas, which included Minimum Recommended Health Protocols that suggest all employers should “train all employees and contractors on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.” 

Utah

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Utah Department of Health 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

The Utah Department of Health issued a COVID-19 Business Manual that outlines recommendations for employee training. The guide recommends employers train their teams on any COVID-related policies and health procedures as well as good hygiene practices, how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and what to do if they (or someone in their family) is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Vermont

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Occupational Health and Safety Administration (VOSHA)
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

Vermont State Governor Phil Scott issued an Executive Order that requires all employers to provide employee training that meets VOSHA’s minimum standards, which includes training on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and how it spreads, appropriate social distancing and personal hygiene practices, and PPE. 

In addition, employers must create a sector-specific reopening and training plan before they reopen, keep that plan on file, and present it to VOSHA and/or employees on request. (Employers can create their own plan or opt to use one of the existing sector plans available through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.)

Virginia

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Virginia Department of Labor and Industry
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

The Department of Labor and Industry’s Virginia Occupational Health and Safety (VOSH) Program and the Virginia Safety and Health Board have adopted the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which requires that businesses considered to be medium, high, or very high risk workplaces to provide ETS-compliant COVID-19 training to employees within 30 days. (Businesses that are considered lower risk workplaces are required to “provide employees with basic written or oral information on COVID-19 hazards and measures to minimize exposure”). 

Washington

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Governor Jay Inslee
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Required
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Washington Phased Reopening plan requires all employers to “educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus and how to prevent transmission, and the employer’s COVID-19 policies.”

West Virginia

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Standardized

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has issued COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses and Employers that suggests all employers in the state “provide training to employees on proper glove and face covering handling and removal.”

Wisconsin

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Both

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has released general reopen guidelines for businesses, which include recommendations for employee training, including training on PPE, proper glove usage, proper cleaning and disinfecting techniques, and isolating ill employees. 

In addition to the general guidelines, the WEDC has also issued industry-specific guidelines, some of which contain additional suggestions for employee training (for example, employers in the construction industry are encouraged to “provide refresher training for employees on proper handwashing, social distancing, employee illness reporting, and any other procedural changes the company has implemented to address COVID-19,” while the restaurant guidelines suggest employees “develop a training plan for employees with modules on social distancing, hygiene and sanitation best practices, what to do if they feel sick, proper use of PPE and cloth face coverings, and how to educate customers about the new policies and practices”). 

Wyoming

  • Has the state issued guidance to employers on providing COVID-19 training to employees? Yes
  • If yes, who is issuing the guidance? Wyoming Department of Health 
  • Is the guidance suggested or required? Suggested 
  • Is the guidance standardized or industry-specific? Industry-specific

While the State of Wyoming has issued COVID safety and reopening guidance for a number of industries, only the guidance for grocery and retail stores references employee training, suggesting employers “train employees on best hygiene practices including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.”

Deanna deBara
Deanna deBara Deanna deBara is a freelance writer and journalist based in Portland, Oregon.

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