On January 21, 2021, the Biden Administration issued its 200 page “National Strategy for the Covid Response and Pandemic Preparedness”. The plan addresses multiple facets of the administration’s Covid planning and response.
Of particular interest to employees and employers, the Strategy directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Federal OSHA) to “immediately release clear guidance for employers” regarding Covid safety in the workplace.
It also directs the Departments of Education (DOE) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue new guidance on safely reopening schools. These directives could have significant impact on health and safety requirements in workplaces across America.
Additionally, President Biden is using executive orders to implement Covid safety mandates in Federal workplaces and in workplaces in the transportation industries. One of his first actions was to sign an executive order requiring mask-wearing and social distancing on Federal properties and by Federal employees and contractors and visitors to Federal properties:
[T]o protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce, and to ensure the continuity of Government services and activities, on-duty or on-site Federal employees, on-site Federal contractors, and other individuals in Federal buildings and on Federal lands should all wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines.
And President Biden plans to sign an executive order requiring mask-wearing “in airports, on certain modes of public transportation, including many train, airplanes, maritime vessels, and intercity buses”, according to an Administration fact sheet. It is expected the President Biden will sign this order as early as Thursday, January 21, 2021.
These mandates and orders are expected to beef up workplace safety requirements for a vast number of Federal, State, and private employees.
If you are an employee working in an unsafe workplace, you can report health and safety violations to Federal OSHA or Michigan OSHA. Or contact the law offices of Croson Taub & Michaels, PLLC to assist you.