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Using legislative policy analysis methods, this article describes the traditional principles of state labor relations that were rewritten using the legislative pen, now instead requiring risk assessment for all employees and employers to thereby prevent occupational transmission of disease. As discussed here, Virginia, the USA state, responded with a COVID-19 prevention law deploying modern industrial hygiene tools with broader jurisdiction compared to state labor law precedents. As a result, swift administrative action, justified for pandemic response, underscores that marginal employers and their workers need strong occupational health and safety laws, because health is inextricably linked to creating thriving commerce.