(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Department of Labor (DOL) announcing that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will issue a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for health care workers and revised guidance for all workers at risk from COVID-19.
"This announcement is an important step to protect workers who have fought tirelessly during this pandemic to keep our communities healthy and safe, especially our health care workers. But I am disappointed that this safety standard does not cover all frontline workers—because while we have made tremendous progress in our fight against COVID-19, we are not out of the woods yet. The pandemic still poses a serious risk for so many frontline workers—especially workers of color, workers who are paid low-incomes, workers with disabilities, and others—many of whom are also less likely to have access to the vaccine. I will continue to fight to ensure that all workers are protected in their workplaces, including by continuing to push OSHA to increase accountability and investigations for workplace safety violations.”
Thousands of workers—including at least 250 meatpacking plant workers, 109 grocery store workers, and 3,600 health care workers—have died without any workplace safety standard for COVID. With workers lives on the line, Senator Murray has fought since March 2020 to ensure workers are safe on the job by pushing OSHA to issue an ETS and called for the Administration to finalize the safety standard at a hearing on May 27.