Press Release: National Safety Council Statement on President Biden’s Executive Order Protecting Worker Health and Safety, Jan. 21, 2021

Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council (NSC) applauds President Biden for today’s executive order directing OSHA to determine whether an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is necessary, among other directives.

In the last 10 months, employers have operated without a national guideline that provides a uniform level of care for workers. The absence of an ETS has been a glaring gap in our nation’s pandemic response. Employers and their workforces are grappling with the worst workplace safety crisis in a century, and our government can use its authority to assist. We urge it to do so – a move we called for last June.

Up to this point, employers have relied on the guidance provided by CDC, NIOSH and OSHA in the absence of an ETS, and we are glad to see OSHA reevaluate and refresh its guidance, per this executive order. That said, more than 400,000 people have died from COVID-19. We are past the point of guidance. An ETS will provide one level of safety – not the patchwork system we are now seeing emerge as states started issuing temporary standards on their own. One national standard will establish one level of safety for all workers at this time when we need it most.

Saving lives requires bold action. Now is not the time for minimum action. An ETS would help us meet the moment. NSC is committed to working with the new administration on all efforts to save lives, from the workplace to anyplace.

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