(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of Senators in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Eugene Scalia urging him to follow his mission to assure worker safety and health and take immediate, strong action to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure, illness, and death on the job. Secretary Scalia, the Senators wrote, should instruct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to protect workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter was led by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
“Worker safety during this pandemic is also family and community safety. By putting corporate profits before the safety and health of workers and the general public, the Trump Administration is endangering the lives of workers and contributing to the spread of COVID-19,” wrote the Senators. “We urge you to immediately issue an Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19 and fully enforce existing worker safety protections.”
Earlier this year, Shaheen and Hassan introduced legislation to protect U.S. workers from COVID-19 in response to disturbing, widespread reports of unsafe workplaces leading to preventable illnesses and deaths. The COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act would require the OSHA to issue an ETS, which establishes a legal obligation for all workplaces to implement comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans to keep workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shaheen and Hassan have repeatedly called on the administration to take action to protect essential workers and issue an ETS. The administration has still failed to do so.
A full copy of the letter can be found here.