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DeLauro Statement on OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard on COVID-19

June 10, 2021
Press Release

DeLauro Urged Walsh to Include All Workers in ETS

WASHINGTON, DC – House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) issued the following statement on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) announcement of a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS):

“The failed leadership of the previous administration prioritized profits over workers’ lives. By turning a blind eye and refusing to set an OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard from the start of the pandemic, countless lives were lost across all industries.

“While I am glad the Biden Administration has taken this long-overdue step to set an OSHA ETS for health care workers, the decision to omit non-health care workers, such as farmworkers and those in meatpacking plants, is shortsighted. I will continue to push for protections for all workers. These workers are not free from the risks of COVID-19 and should be able to count on the federal government to protect their health and safety. An OSHA ETS across sectors would reduce risk and prevent future outbreaks by eliminating dangerous circumstances. We should not have to wait for a spike in COVID-19 cases to happen to enhance the standards. We should offer those protections from the outset.

“The coronavirus exacerbated longstanding workplace hazards in dangerous industries. Too often we leave the workers who are central to our economy unprotected. All workers have a right to a safe workplace, and no worker should ever have to sacrifice their life for a paycheck. I will continue to work with the Department of Labor to reimagine how we support our workers and respond to crises.” 

On April 28, 2021, at the FY 2022 Budget Request Hearing for the Department of Labor, Chair DeLauro asked Secretary Walsh to set an enforceable ETS for COVID-19 to protect the workers in meatpacking plants, calling attention to lobbying efforts to delay the ETS and exclude workers in this industry.