Raleigh – Chairing a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, Rep. Alma Adams slammed Trump administration officials for failing to implement rules that would provide workers with protections from COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the worst worker safety crisis in OSHA’s 50-year history. Nothing compares,” said Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12). “Yet OSHA, the agency that this nation has tasked to protect workers, has been largely invisible. It has failed to develop the necessary tools it needs to combat this pandemic and it has failed to fully use the tools it has; instead focusing principally on issuing press releases and voluntary guidance.”
Adams pressed Loren Sweatt, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), on why her agency has failed to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard, which would protect workers from contracting the virus. Adams sponsored a bill as part of the House-passed HEROES Act that direct OSHA to issue a standard within seven days to protect workers.
What they’re saying:
The Hill: Democrats press OSHA official on issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard
House Democrats grilled a Labor Department official on Thursday on why the administration has not issued an Emergency Temporary Standard during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In mid-May, as workers continue to face risk of infection, illness, and death, the agency is still refusing to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus,” subcommittee Chairwoman Alma Adams (D-N.C.) said in opening the hearing.
AP: Democrats charge OSHA isn’t protecting front-line workers
As U.S. coronavirus deaths top 100,000, Democrats are slamming the Trump administration for failing to protect front-line workers, including those at meatpacking plants and health care facilities where outbreaks of the disease are spiking.
At a House hearing Thursday, Democrats charged that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been “largely invisible” during the pandemic and hasn’t found ways to combat it, such as by issuing an emergency temporary standard for worker protection.
“Deep into this pandemic, OSHA has still not developed any enforceable standards for employers to follow that can protect workers from the airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus,” said Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., chairwoman of a House subcommittee on workforce protections. OSHA’s existing enforcement tools, including standards that address respirators and personal protective equipment, are “inadequate and unused,” Adams said.
NPR: Trump Officials Defend Their Handling Of Worker Safety During Coronavirus
But as the country moves to reopen and more Americans head back to work, Democrats on the panel argued infectious disease ruled should be adopted quickly as an emergency order. “Deep into this pandemic OSHA still hasn’t developed any enforceable standards for employers to follow that can protect workers from the airborne transmission,” said Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC).
Forbes: OSHA Is COVID-19 Invisible: 1 Enforcement Action After 5,000 Complaints Charge Dems
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been COVID-19 invisible, Democrats charged today.
That the agency has issued only one enforcement action (a citation for a rule making violation), after receiving 5,000 COVID-19 complaints was one of a number of complaints the chair of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee and other of her party’s members brought “
“It has failed to develop the necessary tools it needs to combat this pandemic and it has failed to fully use the tools it has; instead of focusing principally on issuing press releases and voluntary guidance,” asserted Workforce Chair Alma Adams of North Carolina.
Cox Media Group: Lawmakers push for stronger protection from COVID-19 for workers
During a House Workforce Protections Subcommittee hearing Thursday, Rep. Alma Adams (D-North Carolina) said tens of thousands of essential workers have tested positive for the coronavirus nationwide.
That includes health care workers, meat processing plant employees, transportation workers and more.
Alma said while OSHA has issued requirements for the health care sector, there has been only voluntary guidance for other industries.
“The agency that this nation has tasked to protect workers has been largely invisible,” Alma said. “OSHA has still not developed any enforceable standards for employers to follow that can protect workers from the airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus.”