Scott Statement on Emergency Temporary Standard

June 10, 2021
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after Department of Labor issued an Emergency Temporary Standard and additional guidance to protect workers from COVID-19. 

“The Emergency Temporary Standard issued today is a step in the right direction to protect health care workers from COVID-19. The ETS provides many nurses, doctors, and frontline workers in health care settings with enforceable workplace safety standards that address the severe risks of COVID-19. 

“However, I am disappointed by both the timing and the scope of this workplace safety standard. This ETS is long past due, and it provides no meaningful protection to many workers who remain at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Workers in meat processing plants, prisons, homeless shelters, grocery stores, and many other workplaces will be forced to continue relying on voluntary safety guidance, which has failed to protect hundreds of thousands of workers and families from preventable infections throughout the pandemic.  

“While vaccination rates continue to climb, fewer than half of Americans are currently fully vaccinated. With vaccination rates for Black and Brown people lagging far behind the overall population, the lack of a comprehensive workplace safety standard and the rapid reopening of the economy is dangerous combination. 

“Since January 30, 2020, I have been asking the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to fulfill its mission to protect workers. The Trump Administration’s failure to take meaningful action contributed to the worst worker safety crisis in OSHA’s 50-year history. At the end of 2020, an independent watchdog report found that the absence of an emergency workplace safety standard prevented OSHA from adequately protecting workers. 

“While I am relieved that the Biden Administration has finally issued an ETS, today’s announcement is too little, too late for countless workers and families across the country. OSHA must closely track workplace infection rates and be prepared to respond quickly to infection outbreaks or other signs of grave danger to workers.”

Letters Sent by Chairman Scott Seeking an Emergency Temporary Standard

January 30, 2020: Chairman Scott, Rep. Adams Letter to OSHA Seeking ETS

March 5, 2020: Chairman Scott, Rep. Adams Follow-Up Letter to OSHA on ETS

September 28, 2020Chairman Scott, Rep. Adams, Sen. Murray, Sen. Baldwin Letter to OSHA on Smithfield Plant EpiAid Report and Letter to Sec. Perdue

March 1, 2021: Chairman Scott and House Leaders Letter to Biden Administration on Workplace Safety

June 2, 2021: Chairman Scott Letter to Secretary Walsh on Status of ETS

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