President Biden recently issued an Executive Order (copy here) requiring OSHA to issue “science-based guidance” to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure. The Executive Order does not create immediate changes, but calls for quick action by OSHA to update its guidance.
The Executive Order requires OSHA to:
- issue, within two weeks, revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- consider whether any emergency temporary standards on COVID-19, including those relating to masks in the workplace, are necessary;
- review OSHA enforcement efforts to identify any changes that could be made to better protect workers and ensure equity in enforcement;
- focus OSHA enforcement efforts on violations that put the largest number of workers at serious risk or are contrary to anti-retaliation principles;
- coordinate with states that have occupational safety and health plans to help ensure that workers are adequately protected from COVID-19, consistent with any revised guidance or emergency temporary standards issued by OSHA; and
- conduct a multilingual outreach effort to inform workers of their rights.
We will continue to monitor this and other construction related developments put forth by the Biden transition.
If you have questions about this or other COVID related policies that impact your construction operations, we recommend you contact experienced construction counsel.