New information from U.S. Department of Labor officials indicates that OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is delayed, but still on the table and under review. Pursuant to President Biden’s Executive Order, if OSHA decided an ETS was necessary, it was required to issue it by March 15, 2021. OSHA indicated after the March 15 deadline, however, that the ETS for COVID-19 is still, in fact, forthcoming. The ETS will be issued in addition to, and not in lieu of, OSHA’s COVID-19 National Emphasis Program released on March 15.
In a March 15 briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stressed the administration’s objective to protect workers, and indicated no expected release date for the ETS, saying OSHA “should have the time to get it right.” As of now, a working draft of OSHA’s emergency rule has not been released, but the ETS will likely require employers to treat CDC guidance as a requirement in their COVID-19 infection safety programs. We will continue to provide updates on the release of OSHA’s COVID-19 standards and programs.