Wednesday, January 20, 2021

What employers can expect from Biden’s presidency: A temporary emergency OSHA standard for COVID-19

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the identification of the first COVID-19 case in the United States. On January 20, 2020, the State of Washington and the CDC confirmed that someone in Washington State had contracted the virus. Since then, 24,809,840 additional Americans have contracted Covid, and 411,520 have died from it. 

All the while, OSHA, the federal agency charged with protecting health and safety in the workplace, has done very little to address the pandemic, and we still lack a national safety standard on keeping Covid-safe at work.

President Biden's OSHA will fix this glaring omission. He has called on Congress "to authorize the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a COVID-19 Protection Standard that covers a broad set of workers."

What issues should we expect this OSHA standard to address?
  • Mandatory masking
  • Mandatory physical distancing
  • Required sanitization and housekeeping
  • Standards for engineering and airflow
  • Required employee training
  • Increased reporting requirements
Some of these, like masking and distancing, should be second-nature at this point, but sadly have become overly politicized and ignored by too many. I applaud anything President Biden does in an attempt to get his pandemic under control and save lives so that we all can get back to living ours.

* Photo by L N on Unsplash