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Two House representatives sent a letter Thursday to the U.S. Department of Labor requesting that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provide business owners and workers a formal opportunity to comment on a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard.
On Jan. 21, President Joe Biden signed an executive order ordering OSHA to issue a federal COVID-19 ETS by March. California, Michigan, Oregon and Virginia have already put into place such standards.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina, ranking member of the Committee on Education and Labor, and Fred Keller, R-Pennsylvania, addressed the letter to Acting Secretary of Labor Al Stewart, asking that OSHA “diligently solicit feedback from business owners and their employees” before “implementing sweeping new employer mandates” on COVID-19 workplace safety.
The letter also asks OSHA to answer questions about the necessity of an ETS, including whether the agency has determined the impact of an ETS on small businesses, how such a standard will be quickly and frequently updated to stay current with evolving public health guidance, how the ETS will address differences in risk exposures and whether the ETS will address workplaces where most employees have already been vaccinated.
The lawmakers asked OSHA to respond to its questions by March 11.
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division is proposing a permanent rule that would maintain current temporary protections for workers against COVID-19 and include mandates that address vaccination in the workplace.