Chairman Scott Statement on OSHA Safety Directive

April 14, 2020
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott issued the following statement after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new enforcement directive for health care  facilities in response to COVID-19.

“Over the past few months, we have seen the tragic consequences of the Department of Labor’s failure to take urgent action to protect frontline health care workers and other essential employees. Without an enforceable workplace safety standard to protect workers against COVID-19 infection, nurses, doctors, first responders, grocery store workers, food processors, delivery workers, and many others will continue to suffer alarming rates of infection that have already led to thousands of preventable illnesses and deaths.

“The Department of Labor’s new enforcement directive takes a step in the right direction by acknowledging that there is an important role for OSHA in enforcing strong worker protections. Unfortunately, it fails to cover other essential workers who are also at serious risk and fails to give employers and workers specific requirements for an infection control plan and other safety measures that an enforceable OSHA standard would provide.

“The Department’s directive highlights the need for an Emergency Temporary Standard that would clearly define employer responsibility and accountability to maintain a safe workplace for employees.

“If the Department of Labor will not voluntarily fulfill its responsibility to workers, Congress must pass legislation that forces the Department to issue an emergency temporary standard that provides clear and enforceable protections for health care workers and other essential workers.”

 ###