Biden Issues an Executive Order Related to COVID-19 and Worker Safety

Ruder Ware

[author: Barb Woller]

On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order (“Order”) which directs the Secretary of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to:

  • Issue revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic within two weeks of the Order;
  • Consider whether an emergency temporary standard on COVID-19, including whether masks in the workplace, is necessary, and if such standard is necessary to issue it by March 15, 2021;
  • Review current enforcement efforts by OSHA related to COVID-19 and identify changes that could be made to protect workers;
  • Launch a national program focused on OSHA enforcement efforts related to COVID-19 violations;
  • Create an outreach campaign focused on informing workers of their rights under applicable law.

Further, the Order directs the Secretary of Labor to review and bolster state level protections, to explore mechanisms to protect workers not protected under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and to determine whether an emergency temporary standard is necessary for coal and metal or non-metal mines.

The full order can be accessed here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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