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A Full Month After Emergency Temporary Standard Deadline, Public Justice Urges the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to Protect Workers from COVID-19 by Issuing an ETS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2021

Contact: Aidan O’Shea, Public Justice
aoshea@publicjustice.net

A Full Month After Emergency Temporary Standard Deadline, Public Justice Urges the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to Protect Workers from COVID-19 by Issuing an ETS

More than a year into the pandemic, workers are still dying from COVID-19. Yet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration refuses to protect workers from the virus.

When President Biden took office, he ordered OSHA to review the need for an Emergency Temporary Standard that would require all employers to implement basic COVID-19 safety protections. A month after the deadline, the standard has not been issued and workers cannot wait any longer. OSHA must do its job and protect workers from the virus by issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard.

The ETS would save lives. It would provide employers, the government, and workers clear guidelines for workplace safety during the pandemic. The standard would make it easier for workers to advocate for their rights through the civil justice system and hold accountable employers who refuse to provide basic protections. An ETS would also lay the groundwork for a permanent standard that would apply to all airborne diseases, ensuring that that the senseless mortality of Spring 2020 never happens again.

While the Biden Administration has been working to distribute COVID-19 vaccines across the country, vaccine relief does not replace basic workplace safety measures like personal protective equipment, social distancing, and proper ventilation. Vaccine distribution has also been inequitable, leaving the most vulnerable populations exposed. Most workers have yet to be vaccinated, including those in the meatpacking and other industries notorious for hazardous conditions and rampant COVID-19 spread. That’s why we need an ETS to protect workers now.

All workers should be safe at work, and there is no replacement for workplace safety standards. Public Justice urges OSHA to swiftly issue and enforce an ETS