Biden Orders OSHA to Develop Virus Protocols
President Joe Biden is directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require employers to develop coronavirus protocols and enforce compliance, an emergency temporary standard. The Wall Street Journalreports the executive action and the rules could include mandates on masks, physical distancing and ventilation standards.
The Biden Administration emphasized the importance of protecting the health and safety of the nation’s workers and said swift action was needed to prevent workers from contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. Democrats and worker advocates generally support such a federal rule, but Republicans and businesses express concerns that implementing the protocols could be burdensome for employers.
During the Trump Administration, OSHA issued voluntary guidelines to employers on equipping workplaces to manage the pandemic but did not impose virus-specific requirements.