Will OSHA, MSHA Adopt Temporary COVID-19 Standards?

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On Jan. 21, President Biden signed an Executive Order that directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to consider adopting emergency temporary standards relating to COVID-19. 

If the emergency temporary standards are deemed necessary, the Executive Order “Protecting Worker Health and Safety” requires the agencies to issue them by March 15. 

According to the Biden administration’s National Strategy for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness — the executive order also calls on OSHA to publish updated or revised COVID-19 guidance within two weeks and review its enforcement efforts. 


A National Emphasis Program – what that could mean for employers


This paves the way for the launch of a National Emphasis Program on COVID-19 that will focus enforcement resources on workplace violations that put the largest number of workers at serious health risk. 

Employers should expect the Small Business Administration to work with the Department of Labor to distribute updated OSHA guidance on worker safety, as well as provide support in implementing the updated guidance. Assistance and guidance will be available in multiple languages. 

If you are an employer in a state plan state, OSHA has been directed to work with your state to protect workers not covered by the federal agencies. You should also consult with local governments and public-sector unions on how to best protect workers in the public sector. 

Lastly, the executive order calls on the departments of Agriculture, Transportation, and Health and Human Services to protect workers not covered under OSHA or MSHA. 

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement on the executive order: “We applaud this swift action that will save lives and protect workers who face dangerous conditions daily while serving our communities. Strong enforceable standards would require employers to develop workplace safety plans, implement science-based protection measures, train workers and report outbreaks.”

Employers should expect increased protection measures, training, and reporting. Stay tuned for more information on potential emergency temporary standards.


About Worksite Medical

During this unprecedented time, as standards change, we’re here to help you keep your team safe and your workplace OSHA-compliant. Our on-site medical surveillance that makes it easy to keep employees healthy and protected. 

In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.

Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.

We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience.

You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.

With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.

Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.

Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!

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