Chemical Industry Regulatory Update - September 2021

A Newsletter from The Adhesive and Sealant Council and Thompson Hine LLP

Date: September 21, 2021

The chemical industry is subject to complex and ever-evolving laws and regulations. New standards governing the production and use of chemicals are implemented every year worldwide, and existing laws and regulations are constantly changing to keep pace with new information and scientific advancements. Chemical Industry Regulatory Update provides a monthly digest of recent legislative and regulatory developments and related industry news.

Path Out of the Pandemic: Considerations for Employers and Government Contractors

Nancy M. Barnes, Frances E. (Chip) Purcell, Jr., Kim Wilcoxon, M. Scott Young, Mona AdabiBeth A. Mandel

On September 9, President Biden issued a sweeping new COVID-19 action plan, “Path Out of the Pandemic,” which affects employees working for large private employers, the federal government, federal contractors and health care entities. View the entire bulletin here.

EPA Again Extends TSCA Compliance Date for PIP (3:1)

Stephen J. Axtell

On September 3, 2021, the U.S. EPA announced a rule revision that will delay by an additional six months (until March 8, 2022) the effective date for the January 2021 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) rules that impose significant restrictions on the manufacture, use and import of several persistent, bioaccumulation and toxic (PBT) substances, including phenol, isopropylated phosphate (PIP (3:1)), a plastic softener frequently used in computers, appliances and many other devices and articles. The original effective date of March 8, 2021 was initially delayed until this month by EPA in March through a "No Action Assurance," whereby EPA vowed to take no enforcement action under most aspects of these rules while it gathered information on the purported extensive supply chain disruption that many industries explained would occur under the rules as originally finalized. In the September 3rd announcement, the agency indicated that an additional compliance extension beyond March 2022 is on the horizon through a rulemaking, soon to be proposed, that will address a reasonable compliance timeline after considering all stakeholder concerns. See the Notice here.

OSHA Issues Updated Guidance to Mitigate COVID-19 in the Workplace

M. Scott Young

On August 13, 2021, OSHA issued updated guidance (Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)), intended to be generally in line with the CDC’s updated recommendations from July. This OSHA guidance covered COVID-19 testing, providing that the fully vaccinated who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should get tested 3-5 days after exposure and should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. This updated OSHA guidance also provided that all employees, whether vaccinated or not, should wear a mask in a public indoor setting situated in a community of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19. OSHA’s updated guidance also provided that in workplaces where there is a heightened risk due to workplace environmental factors for COVID-19 and where there are unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers in the workplace, that the unvaccinated, at risk, and fully vaccinated should wear masks wherever possible when in areas of substantial or high community transmission, and to encourage and consider requiring customers and other visitors to do the same.  Work areas of heightened risk, as defined by OSHA, for contracting COVID-19 include manufacturing; meat, seafood, and poultry processing; high-volume retail and grocery; and agricultural processing settings. OSHA’s updated guidance also provides that the unvaccinated and at-risk employees should maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or more in communal work areas. 

Vaccine Mandates

Many companies have struggled with the decision of whether to mandate vaccines. The surging Delta variant is only increasing that pressure. Per the announcement here Manufacturers Support All Efforts to Get Americans Vaccinated | NAM, following in the footsteps of the decision to require all federal employees to be vaccinated, the National Association of Manufacturers has decided to require all staff to be vaccinated by mid-September.

October 6, 2021 – Managing the Deluge of Employee Benefit Plan Compliance Requirements

A four-part webinar series presented by Thompson Hine LLP

As employers plan for year-end and the year ahead, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the flood of legislative and regulatory developments affecting employee benefit plans. Our new series of four lunchtime webinars aims to provide concise information regarding the latest updates and guidance on important employee benefits issues.

Session 1: Health & Welfare Benefits, Part 1
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Kim Wilcoxon and Laura Ryan present a review of health plan compliance issues that employers should consider when preparing for 2022 and the end of COVID-related relief, including:

  • Factors impacting 2022 health plan coverage and premiums
  • Premium discounts/surcharges based on vaccination status
  • New billing and transparency requirements
  • ARPA COBRA subsidy tax credits 
  • Annual notices and other required participant communications

Click here to register and receive instructions on how to join the webinar.

Chemical Industry Regulatory Update is compiled by Thompson Hine lawyers on behalf of The Adhesive and Sealant Council. It should not be construed as legal advice, and the views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the ASC or its members.

For more information, contact the editor, William J. Hubbard, or any of the authors.

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