Democrats press OSHA head over COVID-19 enforcement

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“To put it bluntly, OSHA is stepping in only once someone has died,” Levin said. “Every day I get calls from workers who are terrified that they will become sick in their workplaces. Many worry not for their own lives, but for the lives of sick or elderly family members they reside with and support.”

“I have said before, OSHA has existing standards to address a variety of aspects of this virus, and we are enforcing where we find failure to comply,” Sweatt said.

“Ma’am, you’ve issued one citation in the greatest crisis. You say you are acting proactively, but in fact, what you are doing is the definition of reactive,” Levin said.

Levin also criticized OSHA for its decision not to issue an emergency temporary standard on infectious disease control. The AFL-CIO has filed a petition in federal court seeking an order forcing the Labor Department to issue such a standard, but Sweatt, citing pending litigation, refused to discuss the issue.

“If your agency inspects workplaces only after a worker has died, you are not preventing worker infections,” Levin said.


Mark Bocchetti

2020-05-28 13:21:13

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