Biden Administration Orders OSHA to Take Action On COVID-19
In what had been promised during the campaign, President Biden took action on his first full day in office to address COVID-19 virus transmission in the workplace. On January 21, President Biden issued an Executive Order focused on OSHA’s approach to managing the COVID-19. Executive Orders are used by presidents for a variety of purposes including directing federal agencies to take certain actions.
The Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety requires federal OSHA to take certain actions regarding its approach to issuing guidance, regulations, and enforcing existing regulations. The Executive Order contains four key actions that need to be taken:
- By February 4, 2021 OSHA must consult with the heads of other appropriate executive departments and agencies and update their current OSHA’s COVID-19 guidance to employers on workplace safety. The guidance needs to incorporate the best available scientific knowledge about the virus.
- Review their existing enforcement efforts and strategies to identify any short-, medium-, and long-term changes that should be made to better protect workers.
- Begin a COVID-19 enforcement National Emphasis Program to focus OSHA’s enforcement resources on COVID-19 related violations and anti-retaliation protection.
- Consider whether an emergency temporary standard on COVID-19, including with respect to masks in the workplace, is necessary and if so, issue one by March 15, 2021.
What does this mean for the printing industry? Actually, several things. First, any guidance or new regulation would immediately apply to any printing operation in a state that is covered by federal OSHA. There are 22 states that are covered. The remaining states will eventually have to observe the guidance and eventually adopt OSHA’s regulation. However, some states have already adopted their own state COVID-19 regulation and they may have to revise their regulation if OSHA issues one.
Virginia, California, Oregon, and Michigan have either permanent or emergency COVID-19 workplace standards in place. In addition, New Jersey, a non-state plan state, has issued an Executive Order establishing workplace requirements as the Governor felt it was necessary due to inaction by federal OSHA.
To determine if you are in one of the 22 states that has their own program, check this webpage. The Executive Order requires OSHA to ensure workers in these 22 states are adequately protected from COVID-19 and that any plans/regulations in place are consistent with any revised guidance or ETS issued by OSHA.
PRINTING United Alliance will track the developments at OSHA and share with you any updates on revisions to guidance and regulatory activities. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you have any questions or need additional information.
Marcia Kinter is the Vice President, Government & Regulatory Affairs at PRINTING United Alliance. Ms. Kinter oversees the development of resources for the Association addressing environmental, safety & health, and sustainability issues. She represents the printing industry, as well as their associated supplier base, before federal and state regulatory agencies on environmental, safety and other government issues directly impacting the printing industry.
In 2008, Kinter, in conjunction with colleagues from other printing trade associations, was instrumental in launching the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership program. The SGP Program is a registry system for printing facilities that includes third party verification. The program successfully launched as an independent organization in August 2008.
Kinter is a member of and serves as Secretary for the Academy of Screen Printing Technology. In 2001, Kinter received the William D. Schaeffer Environmental Award for significant advancement of environmental awareness in the graphic arts industry.
Before joining PRINTING United Alliance, Kinter worked for The American Waterways Operators, Inc., the national association for the barge and towing industry.
She holds bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University.