Will Employers Finally Get Some Emergency COVID Standards from OSHA?

On April 26, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent a draft of long-awaited COVID-related federal workplace safety standards to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for review.

Shortly after assuming office, President Biden gave the DOL a March 15, 2021, deadline to determine whether mandatory workplace safety rules were necessary to protect American workers from the spread of COVID-19. During his campaign, President Biden had called for new worker safety protection measures that the Trump administration had deemed unnecessary.

The March 15 deadline came and went after Labor Secretary Marty Walsh requested additional scrutiny of the rules “based on CDC analysis and the latest information regarding the state of vaccinations and the variants.”

While the draft rules have not yet been made public, they are expected to require a number of mandatory precautions, including requiring employers to supply their employees with masks and have a written plan in place to prevent exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

After the OMB review is completed – within the next two weeks, according to several reports – the new mandates will be issued as emergency temporary standards by OSHA and will be effective immediately. The temporary emergency standards will be in effect for six months, after which OSHA is required to adopt permanent safety standards.

Once the temporary emergency standards are released, employers in the states that have already lifted many of their own COVID-19-related mandates – and those that already have state-mandated precautions in place – will have to move quickly to comply with the new federal OSHA mandates. 

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 678-439-6236.

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Hall Benefits Law, LLC

HBL offers employers comprehensive legal guidance on benefits in mergers and acquisitions, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, healthcare reform, and retirement plans. We counsel a wide spectrum of clients including small, mid-sized, and large companies, 401(k) investment advisors, health insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and HR consultants, just to name a few. HBL is passionate about advising clients, and we are dedicated to our mission: to provide comprehensive, personalized, and practical ERISA and benefits legal solutions that exceed client expectations.
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