Scott Statement on OSHA Update to Workplace Safety Guidance

August 13, 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 the Department of Labor released updated workplace safety guidance for employers not covered under the Emergency Temporary Standard and additional guidance to protect workers from COVID-19. 

“The updated workplace safety guidance released today by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an improvement over previous guidance, but it still falls well short of the enforceable workplace safety standard that is necessary to protect workers from COVID-19. 

“In April, OSHA determined that an Emergency Temporary Standard was necessary to protect workers from the grave danger posed by the virus. Due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, the rates of infection in nearly all parts of the country are even higher today. Rather than shifting policy in response to the resurgence of infections and hospitalizations, the Administration has refused to expand the scope of OSHA’s ETS to cover workers outside of health care settings. 

“As a result, workers in meat processing plants, prisons, homeless shelters, grocery stores, and many other workplaces are still being forced to rely on voluntary guidance to protect them from infections. And without mandatory reporting of workplace infections to OSHA, the nation’s primary workplace safety agency is forced to wait for worker complaints, referrals from health departments, and press reports to identify outbreaks. By then, it is far too late for most workers and families. 

“I understand that workers, businesses, and customers are worn down by this pandemic and frustrated by the continued presence of the virus in our daily lives. But the virus will continue to endanger American lives until we take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from COVID-19. OSHA must immediately issue an emergency workplace safety standard that protects all workers – as it had sought to do in April before the Office of Management and Budget narrowed the standard – not just the health care workers covered under the current ETS.”

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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