OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 Sent to OMB for Final Review

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April 28, 2021

On April 26, IIBEC confirmed that OSHA sent its final draft of its emergency temporary standard (ETS) for workplace safety to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a final review. Two weeks ago, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh sent the draft ETS back for additional review of data and information regarding the state of vaccinations and variants of the virus. At that time, the declining cases of COVID-19 and rising vaccination rates potentially undermined the standard’s necessity and legal justification for issuance.

The details of the submission titled Subpart U–Emergency Temporary Standard–COVID-19, were not posted on the OMB website yet, but it is expected to outline a single, minimum standard for employers to follow to protect employees from COVID-19 at work. While OMB is under no time requirement, due to the priority of the issue for the Biden Administration, a decision is expected in the very near future.

Instructions to consider whether an emergency standard was necessary were included in the executive order President Biden signed on January 20 promulgating the ETS.  A determination that workers are in grave danger provides OSHA the authorization to issue the ETS, a decision that can only be challenged in a US court of appeals. All levels of courts have shown broad deference to agencies when it comes to health and safety standards.

IIBEC Director of Government Relations, John Boling

Serving as IIBEC’s director of government relations, Boling works to advance members’ policy interests in states, provinces, and at the national levels. Please contact him at jboling@iibec.org.