Menu

President Biden Directs OSHA to Escalate COVID-19 Safety Precautions

Labor & Employment   |   Coronavirus   |   January 22, 2021
Download Download   
Share Share Page

On his second day in office, President Biden signed an executive order on protecting worker health and safety directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to escalate its efforts to prevent workers from contracting COVID-19 in the workplace.

Declaring the health and safety of workers “a national priority and a moral imperative,” President Biden’s executive order calls upon the federal government to “take swift action to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace.” The order directs the agency to update COVID-19 safety recommendations for businesses by February 4, 2021, review its enforcement efforts, conduct a multilingual outreach campaign to inform workers of their rights, and study whether an emergency temporary standard is necessary. The agency must issue the emergency standard by March 15, 2021, if so. The proposed standard would likely require employers to create a plan to minimize worker exposure to the coronavirus through procedures such as mandates on masks, physical distancing, and ventilation standards. Employers would likely have to present their plans to OSHA during a workplace inspection and could be fined for violations. The order marks an abrupt shift from the Trump administration’s more business- and industry-friendly approach and signals a new emphasis on the plight of workers, including a focus on issues of race and equity, in the Biden administration.


©2020 Carlton Fields, P.A. Carlton Fields practices law in California through Carlton Fields, LLP. Carlton Fields publications should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information and educational purposes only, and should not be relied on as if it were advice about a particular fact situation. The distribution of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship with Carlton Fields. This publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or proceeding without the prior written consent of the firm, to be given or withheld at our discretion. To request reprint permission for any of our publications, please use our Contact Us form via the link below. The views set forth herein are the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the firm. This site may contain hypertext links to information created and maintained by other entities. Carlton Fields does not control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this outside information, nor is the inclusion of a link to be intended as an endorsement of those outside sites.

Subscribe to Publications

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.