Occupational Safety and Health Administration Acts to Protect America’s Workers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Washington, DC (May 28, 2020) – As the nation faces the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is dedicated to keeping the American workforce safe and healthy.

Today, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt testified before the House Education and Labor Committee’s Workforce Protections Subcommittee about the agency’s role during the crisis.

“Throughout the ongoing pandemic, OSHA’s work is continuing uninterrupted,” Sweatt said.

“From conducting thousands of investigations to issuing critical guidance aimed at protecting workers in high-risk industries, OSHA is on the job protecting America’s workers against the coronavirus.”

Click here for Sweatt’s written testimony.

The Department is highlighting OSHA’s continued work to keep American workers safe during these unprecedented times.

OSHA has released many public statements related to the coronavirus pandemic including:

Respirator Guidance:

This expanded guidance applies to all workplaces covered by OSHA where there is required respirator use.

The latest interim guidance document outlines acceptable methods for decontaminating and reusing disposable N95 FFRs.

The action marks the department’s latest step to ensure the availability of respirators and follows President Donald J. Trump’s Memorandum on Making General Use Respirators Available.

Protecting Workers in High-Risk Industries

Enforcing Safety in the Workplace

The plan concentrates enforcement on coronavirus exposures of health workers, emergency responders and others.

Acts of retaliation can include terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours.

The guidance includes recommended actions employers can take to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

The statement, which addresses guidance and enforcement actions regarding worker safety at meat, pork and poultry processing facilities, provides clarity for businesses whose continued operation will be critical to America’s food supply.

Offering Clear Direction for Employers:

Employers are also expected to take corrective action as soon as possible once normal activities resume.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.

OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.