Chemical Industry Regulatory Update – March 2020

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

Date: March 20, 2020

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.

Webinar – COVID-19: Planning Considerations for Employers

As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread, so do fears and uncertainties. As an employer, you are equally concerned about the health of your employees and that of your business, and many new questions arise daily. How do you comply with current recommendations regarding travel restrictions, quarantines and other guidance from government and health authorities to maintain a safe working environment while trying to conduct “business as usual”?

Click here to view our COVID-19 Webinar presentation recorded on March 10.

Click here to access the COVID-19 checklist

Click here view the PowerPoint presentation

Novel COVID-19 Virus, Commercial Contracts and Force Majeure

Jennifer S. Roach, Matthew David Ridings, Laura Watson SchultzJohn D. Cottingham

The novel COVID-19 virus has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and its impact on global supply chains is already significant and increasing day-by-day. Businesses around the world are dealing with reduced demand, uncertain supply, slowing growth or labor shortages. While it may be too soon to evaluate and quantify the full impact of the COVID-19 virus, manufacturers are evaluating how their commercial contracts may be affected by the outbreak in the context of force majeure provisions.  More information is available here

The Coronavirus Threatens U.S. Company Supply Chains - Practical Tips and Contract Considerations to Manage Risk

Karyn A. Booth, Brent Connor, Jason D. Tutrone, Scott E. Diamond*

*Not licensed to practice law

There are growing concerns that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak will have a serious negative impact on the global economy. U.S. businesses that depend on Chinese suppliers may soon be facing product shortages and supply chain disruptions. To minimize supply chain interruptions, U.S. businesses must be proactive and engage in contingency planning to keep plants operating and fulfill customer requirements. Also, to understand legal risks, companies should carefully review their contracts with Chinese suppliers, customers and transportation providers and determine whether force majeure clauses excuse performance failures, if there are risks of minimum volume shortfalls and/or liquidated damages, and if cost-recovery mechanisms and other commercial protections exist. Options available to mitigate risk will depend on the specific facts and circumstances and contract terms. Click here for more information.

Newly-Effective California CCPA Regulations Address Cyberattacks

Thomas F. Zych

While much attention has been paid to the privacy components of the newly-effective California Consumer Privacy Act, relatively little attention has been paid to the new risks businesses face under that law for data breaches. As of the beginning of this year, California consumers can now bring an action if they are adversely affected by a data breach, even one occurring outside of California. This private right of action raises the already high stakes companies face if they are the victim of a data breach, as many of these cases are litigated as class actions seeking tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in class-wide damages, attorneys; fees and other remedies. While class action data breach litigation is hardly new, the CCPA’s explicit grant of a private right of action also may tilt the scale further in the plaintiff’s direction on issue of standing and damages. The need for good data incident prevention, detection and response is starker than ever.

And speaking of the CCPA, while many businesses have completed their extensive CCPA compliance projects and are well situated to meet its standards, there is no time for rest. Other states, most notably New York, Washington and Virginia (among others) are actively debating their own state privacy laws, laws that are not in step with the CCPA’s requirements. While it is too early to predict the final products of the legislative process, it is likely that California will not be by itself on the tip of the regulatory spear for long. To compound matters, the prospects for comprehensive federal privacy legislation with pre-emptive effect (solving the problem of patchwork state laws) are not good, particularly in an election year.” Click here to learn more about the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Cyber Attackers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Fears

Steven G. Stransky

Recently, Steven G. Stransky, Partner/Privacy and Cybersecurity, published an article entitled, “Cyber Attackers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Fears,” which can be accessed in full here.

The article discusses how organizations need to address, in addition to health and safety issues related to the coronavirus, new and evolving ancillary threats related to the disease – phishing and cyberattacks. More specifically, security firms and law enforcement officials have recently been warning organizations about phishing emails that purport to be from government health agencies, but that direct recipients to fraudulent websites or links that contain malicious software. In addition, cybercriminals have begun targeting employees’ workplace email accounts through phishing emails that pretend to be sent from senior company officials about new coronavirus-related travel and work policies, but actually contain malware. If unchecked, these cyberattacks have the potential to damage business operations during an already serious health emergency.

The article is published on Lawfare (blog), which is managed by the Lawfare Institute in cooperation with the Brookings Institute. The full link to article can be accessed at https://www.lawfareblog.com/cyber-attackers-are-exploiting-coronavirus-fears.

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Guidance for Employers

M. Scott Young, Nancy M. Barnes, Anthony P. McNamara

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recently issued guidance to employers concerning their regulatory obligations to keep workplaces safe during the current COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA’s guidance includes information on the ways COVID-19 can spread, which includes between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Read more.

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

For more information about this newsletter or any of its contents, contact the editor, William J. Hubbard, or any of the authors.

Check out our latest Employment Legislation Outlook. Learn about the latest developments in paid sick and safe leave laws, family and parental leave, recreational and medicinal marijuana use, and workplace issues.

ASC Regulatory Affairs Update Webinar

Join us for our free, members only, webinar that provides an update on TSCA regulations, Prop 65 and recent developments in the ever-changing field of product compliance and stewardship.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020; 10:00 a.m. ET
For more information, click here.