Biden’s Call To Action To OSHA on COVID-19

By Robert G. Chadwick, Jr., Partner, Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP.

On January 21, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order requiring OSHA to take swift action to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace.

The Executive Order outlines five (f) steps which must be undertaken by OSHA:

(a) issue, within 2 weeks of the date of this order and in conjunction or consultation with the heads of any other appropriate executive departments and agencies (agencies), revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic;

(b)  consider whether any emergency temporary standards on COVID-19, including with respect to masks in the workplace, are necessary, and if such standards are determined to be necessary, issue them by March 15, 2021;

(c)  review the enforcement efforts of the [agency] related to COVID-19 and identify any short-, medium-, and long-term changes that could be made to better protect workers and ensure equity in enforcement; 

(d)  launch a national program to focus OSHA enforcement efforts related to COVID-19 on violations that put the largest number of workers at serious risk or are contrary to anti-retaliation principles; and

(e)  coordinate with the DOL Office of Public Affairs and Office of Public Engagement and all regional OSHA offices to conduct, consistent with applicable law, a multilingual outreach campaign to inform workers and their representatives of their rights under applicable law. This campaign shall include engagement with labor unions, community organizations, and industries, and place a special emphasis on communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

Stay tuned to this blog for further updates.

Robert G. Chadwick, Jr. frequently speaks to non-profit organizations regarding occupational safety and health issues. To contact him for a speaking engagement, please e-mail him at

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